Throughout The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne exposes the blindness of the Puritan people through the treatment of Hester, Chillingworth, and Dimmesdale’s external characters. Hester Prynne is labeled as an adulteress and mistreated by society because of their unwillingness to see her true character. Chillingworth, the husband of Hester, leads the town to believe he is an honorable man and skillful doctor, when his true intents root from his vindictive nature Finally, Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale, Hester’s lover and the father of her baby, acts as the perfect man therefore the town views him as an exemplar model, while he is truly a sinner. In the novel, Hawthorne portrays Hester as a strong, resilient woman, though the members of her community …show more content…
She receives three punishments from the townspeople, who claim they will free her from her sin. The community orders Hester to go to jail, wear a scarlet letter on her chest, and stand on the town scaffold for hours. Hester wears her scarlet letter proudly on her chest, and endures much suffering because of her public ridicule. Hester is “kept by no restrictive clause of her condemnation within the limits of the Puritan settlement” after she was released from prison, but she chooses to stay (Hawthorne 71). Later, Hester’s child, Pearl, symbolizes the Puritan view of Hester. When Pearl looks at her mother’s reflection in a convex mirror, she claims to exclusively see the A: “the scarlet letter was represented in exaggerated and gigantic proportions, so as to be greatly the most prominent feature of her appearance. In truth, she seemed absolutely hidden behind it” (95). Hawthorne clearly illustrates how Pearl and the public choose to see Hester merely as her sin. Even numerous years later, Hawthorne suggest that the townspeople still cannot view Hester …show more content…
In the moment he sees her on the scaffold, he chooses to change his name and to never reveal his authentic identity. Instead, he uses the alias of a doctor named ‘Chillingworth’. Though not formally a doctor, his background in alchemy and knowledge of herbal remedies allow him to mislead the Puritans. He takes on the job of caring for the town reverend, Dimmesdale. Eventually, he learns this is the man who impregnated his wife, and Chillingworth begins to seek revenge. He moves in with Dimmesdale, and claims he will care for him, but the public cannot see that his intention is to torture Dimmesdale. Hawthorne explains, “The intellect of Roger Chillingworth had now a sufficiently plain path before it. It was not, indeed, precisely that which he had laid out for himself to tread. Calm, gentle, passionless, as he appeared, there was yet, we fear, a quiet depth of malice, hitherto latent, but active now, in this unfortunate old man, which led him to imagine a more intimate revenge than any mortal had ever wreaked upon an enemy” (126). He deliberately chooses to drive Chillingworth into insanity. On various occasions, he causes Dimmesdale to become paranoid by being ever-present and never giving him space. There is a clear connection between the amount of time Chillingworth spends with Dimmesdale and Dimmesdale’s worsening health, but the Puritan people become blinded by the
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Chillingworth, like Dimmesdale, also believes that sinners should be held accountable and atone for their actions. However, this is where the similarities in their mindsets end. While Dimmesdale would plead for compassion for sinners, Chillingworth would rather publicly condemn and deface them. He often speaks of how Dimmesdale will one day face the consequences for his actions, but leaves the ghastly details of his plan for exposure mostly unknown. Chillingworth wants Dimmesdale, the sinner, to suffer to the extent that his will to continue living is destroyed and, when he’s at his lowest, unmask him publicly.
His persona shifts from a “man of skill, the kind and friendly physician” to a man with “something ugly and evil in his face” (85+). The community believes that Chillingworth is in some form of Satan, and they believe Chillingworth was sent to test Dimmesdale’s faith. Chillingworth sparks an interest in the health of the young Reverend Dimmesdale and fulfills a “new purpose”. Chillingworth
When Chillingworth first arrives into town he claims to be a doctor, by saying this he has to take room with Dimmesdale, to nurse him back to health. Chillingworth's living arrangement leads to the revelation of Dimmesdale's secret. When the truth is revealed the start of Chillingworth's torturous act upon Dimmesdale begins.
and yet he ambitiously seeks further torture. As his antipathy amplified, Chillingworth perpetually imbued Dimmesdale with a fiery warmth of regret for the scandalous iniquity he had wrongfully commit; Yet, Chillingworth’s “righteous” acts are not righteous at all, in fact he commits sin tenfold that of Dimmesdale just through these acts. Chillingworth poses himself as a kind man attempting to heal the Reverend, but this is a lie, a lie directly to the face of God. Chillingworth does not care for the health of the Reverend, his true underlying intentions are to seek information from
Even though he kept the man suffer, his action also shows positive impact toward his wife and Pearl later on. Regardless, Roger Chillingworth is mostly fill with evilness desiring to have revenge on his
Chillingsworth works day in and day out making Dimmesdale sick with work that people will find out what he had done. It's so bad that Dimmesdale starts to do self harm. Chillingworth even goes about so that hester knows what she had done was wrong too and he makes her life like she is walking on
The way Chillingworth “scrutinized his patient carefully, both as he saw him in his ordinary life….. and as he appeared when thrown amidst other moral scenery...might call out something new to the surface of his character. While “it was a physician that he presented himself, and such was cordially received”, many people still have their doubts about him. Since Chillingworth is curious about Dimmesdale’s problems, he made “an arrangement by which the two were lodged in the same house; so that every eeb and flow of the minister’s life-tide might pass under the eye of his anxious and attached physician.” He wants so deeply to know what Dimmesdale is hiding, that he convinces Dimmesdale’s friends to let them live together, even though Dimmesdale is not truly sick; maybe sick of himself, but
The Hidden Sin and The Revealed Sin As humans, we live in the that are brimming with sins and evil desire. As the creator of all the creatures, God, sent his only son to save the people from the control of devil. The only thing we have to do is to acknowledge our mistake. Bible teach us that we should tell the truth to God and your neighbors, and God will forgive you. But people are worse, they not only hide the sin and their evil behaviors but also try to deny it.
At first Chillingworth is portrayed through the introduction as a civil man, almost feel sorry for him for the fact that his wife cheated on him, and that she is now imprisoned, Hester even calls him, “the Black Man that haunts the forest round about [the town],”(Hawthorne 94), however, these words foreshadow the dive to insanity Chillingworth later takes after he sets his sights on revenge. Although Chillingworth’s arrival to Massachusetts is not a happy one, the reader can’t feel bad for Chillingworth because during his conversation with Hester, Chillingworth didn’t approach Hester with the intent on being a good husband, but rather as a physician. The lack of love Chillingworth displays to Hester, sheds light onto the how riddled with guilt Chillingworth really is, the mere opposition to comfort her, provides Chillingworth’s first step towards his mental downfall. Some people may argue that Chillingworth never saw a downfall into his own mental state, and that he was passing the punishment that Dimmesdale had deserved. However, the punishments that Dimmesdale was receiving was more torture than anything else, which exemplifies the civility he has lost.
Throughout the passage from The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne uses Hester’s baby, Pearl, to illuminate the theme of beauty in a dark place. Once released from prison, Hester, an adulterer, becomes a public spectacle. Through this hard time, Hester has her daughter Pearl to soothe her and to bring her strength and hope for a better future. By using vivid imagery and juxtaposition, Hawthorne depicts Pearl as Hester’s happiness, light, and beauty during a sad and lonely time. While in Prison, Hester is all alone and depressed.
The reader is especially made aware of Dimmesdale's mental state in the eleventh chapter, “His inward trouble drove him to practices more in accordance with the old, corrupted faith of Rome, than with the better light of the church in which he had been born and bred” . This suggests that he is racked with immense guilt and shame at the falsehood he is living and suggests that he is physically abusing himself as a result of this guilt. This directly contradicts Chillingworth's mental state of fury and vengeance that he falls deeper into as the story progresses. These two characters also hold striking incongruities as to what drives them onward as the account
Hawthorne immediately corrects himself, and says that Chillingworth is more like “a sexton delving into a grave, possibly in quest of a jewel that had been buried on the dead man’s bosom” (125). These comparisons of Chillingworth to a miner and a sexton, and the truth to gold and a jewel emphasizes this obsession that Chillingworth must finding the truth. Chillingworth is “the leech” and he 's by Dimmesdale’s side making him sick. The longer Chillingworth stays with Dimmesdale, the worse Dimmesdale’s condition gets. This is his newfound passion and his persistence won’t allow him to end this hunt for the truth.
It was not, indeed, precisely that which he had laid out for himself to tread. Calm, gentle, passionless, as he appeared, there was yet, we fear, a quiet depth of malice, hitherto latent, but active now, in this unfortunate old man, which led him to imagine a more intimate revenge than any mortal had ever wreaked upon an enemy.” (107.) Roger Chillingworth spent his entire life attempting getting revenge on Dimsdale for what he did to his wife. Chillingworth didn’t just want to hurt Dimmesdale but destroy him emotionally.
Even though the Puritans may have designated the letter as a representation of sin, Hester’s renewed sense of pride does not want society to define the A for her. Rather Hester wants to define it herself and by doing so she develops responsibility and power over her own actions. Because Hester has the power to change who she is, she also has the power to change what the Scarlet Letter represents. By letting the letter be “embroidered with gold thread” readers are able to see how for Hester sin is not something to be fearful of; furthermore, it allows one to see how Hester has developed into an independent individual who accepts who she is and the situation she is presented with. Hester’s lover unfortunately