Essay, Research Paper: Scarlet Letter And Chillingworth

Literature: Nathaniel Hawthorne

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In the novel The Scarlet Letter, perhaps the most interesting and hated
character was Roger Chillingworth. When Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote this book he
spent a great deal of time analyzing and defining his characters through their
traits and the secrets they held against one another. Chillingworth was Hester
Prynne’s true husband. He arrived in Boston, Massachusetts at the beginning of
the story when Hester Prynne was on the scaffold being hazed and punished for
the crime of adultery. From the beginning Chillingworth chose not to reveal his
relationship to Hester and plotted revenge on the father of Pearl. These actions
he chose to take made him the most evil and hated character in this novel.
Throughout this novel, one sees that Chillingworth’s character traits were
primarily negative. These traits all originated from the one choice he had made
in the beginningof the story when he decided to seek revenge on the man with
whom Hester had had an affair with.He wanted to carry out this plot of revenge
out in secret, so he told Hester to never tell a soul of his true identity, and
he began living in Boston as a recluse and became known as a very skilled
doctor. Late in the story, Reverend Dimmesdale, the man who had the affair with
Hester started to become weak and sick. Chillingworth, became Dimmesdale’s
doctor and then the two became very close companions. With the years now gone
by, the need for revenge had grown inside of Chillingworth. He had became a weak
and bitter old man, who had aged dramatically. Once he learned thatDimmesdale
was the man he had been looking for, his heart became full of hate and anger. He
wanted his revenge desperatly but, did not kill the man or do anything to him,
and he even continued to be his doctor. So it became apparent here that
Chillingworth needed this hate and revenge to survive. At the end of this novel,
after Dimmesdale died, Chillingworth felt there was no more point in his living.
The man whom he hated the most was dead. Now he could not leech off of
Dimmesdale anymore, with his feelings of hate and revenge. Those feelings were
gone now that there was no man to seek revenge on anymore. So after
Dimmesdale’s death, Chillingworth pulled away from society and just withered
away by himself in solitude.
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