Chillingworth In Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

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Chillingworth’s gravitation towards evil stimulates his lost of humanity, ultimately forcing his fate to become dependent on Dimmesdale’s public confession. When he arrives in the Puritan society in Boston, Chillingworth encounters his wife, Hester, enduring the consequences of public humiliation for an adulterous crime. Due to Hester’s defiant nature and her desire to conceal her partner’s name, Chillingworth was compelled to privately seek the identity of Hester’s partner. During his mission, Chillingworth earns the trust of Reverend Dimmesdale, whom he later identifies as Hester’s partner after discovering marks on the clergyman’s chest that closely resembles the shameful scarlet letter that Hester bears as punishment. Upon his discovery,…show more content…
Following Dimmesdale’s death, “all [of Chillingworth 's] strength and energy… and intellectual force seemed at once to desert him… and almost vanished from mortal sight” (Hawthorne 212), as his own death quickly proceeds within a year. When the source of evil that he leeches off of disappears, Chillingworth’s life begins to disintegrate, as he lacks further purpose to survive due to his loss of humanity. His obsession with obtaining revenge eventually forces him to lose control of his own fate, as it becomes dependent on Dimmesdale’s actions. Since Chillingworth devoted his life to seeking revenge on Dimmesdale, without a mortal target, his existence becomes meaningless. In an effort to assert control and prolong his own life, Chillingworth tries to terminate Dimmesdale’s public confession. Ironically, his desire to punish Hester’s partner ultimately leads to his self destruction as a result of his obsession with seeking revenge to protect his pride. In a sense, Chillingworth’s fated downfall is used to highlight Hester’s strength and courage through their dramatic
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