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.
Chillingworth is explaining to Hester what he will do with her lover, the father of her child. Hawthorne states in The Scarlet Letter, “I shall seek this man, as I have sought truth in books; as I have sought gold in alchemy. There is a sympathy that will make me conscious of him. I shall see him tremble.” Both sympathy and antipathy are present here, first Chillingworth feels and senses the presence of his enemy, although he may not necessarily feel sorry for the lover, whom we later find out is Dimmesdale, he is aware of his presence and will become a friend with a dark agenda.
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
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.
He went into the town to see someone he knew very well up on a scaffold showing her sinful mistake to everyone who could see. The woman on the Scaffold was not only someone Chillingworth knows but his wife, Hester Prynn. Though she was on the scaffold she was not alone, in her arms lay a small baby, Hester's baby. A pain ran through Chillingworth's mind, or maybe is wasn't pain it was anger. Hester did not see the baby as bad news, Chillingworth did force her into marriage and left her for 2 years in a new town, Hester is a very attractive girl and because Roger was so old and gone for so long everyone assumed he had perished.
And the shame!—the indelicacy!—the horrible ugliness of this exposure of a sick and guilty heart to the very eye that would gloat over it!” , thus presenting verbal abuse. He then guilts her into apologizing for not revealing that Chillingworth was her husband until then, by saying, “Woman, woman, thou art accountable for this!—I cannot forgive thee!”. Dimmesdale went further in putting down the images of others by immediately adding how awful he viewed Chillingworth, saying that he “has violated, in cold blood, the sanctity of a human heart” and implying that Chillingworth was “the worst sinner in the
He realized that this obsession has gotten to be his life and what he thinks about constantly. He looks at himself he sees his evilness, but he can’t back down, it’s not that easy. It’s not easy to leave it and get over the obsession because he still wants to see Dimmesdale suffer and that’s what satisfies and excites him; what a terrible person Chillingworth has
The Puritan definition of truth was the word of God or every verse contained in the scripture, and the truth is believed to be “the self-expression of God”. Puritans took the word of God very serious and depended on it for their life lessons. In The Scarlet Letter Roger Chillingworth identifies Mr. Dimmesdale’s faults and want to uncover the secret that’s destroying him inside. Chillingworth makes it his purpose to find the truth. Chillingworth has an opportunity to do so while Dimmesdale is asleep from the drugs that Chillingworth gave him.
Dimmesdale is the minister of the Puritans which devours him alive because of the shame and guilt of his true identity as Pearl’s father. He is so ruined that his health becomes putrid and he begins to decay in a sense. Hawthorne describes his looks, “...the health of Mr. Dimmesdale had evidently begun to fail…the paleness of the young minister’s cheek was accounted for...his form grew emaciated… his hand over his heart, with first a flush and then a paleness, indicative of pain” (92 Hawthorne). The reverend decays more and more as the guilt of his true identity lingers in his heart. Chillingworth, mostly referred as ‘The Leech’, is in a similar situation where identity tests his well being.
The narrator portrays him as an intelligent but angry old man that does not have any interest in his wife any longer unless it is plotting revenge. One theme in this chapter is something that can slowly destroy people mentally, guilt. The irony that took place in this story is that Chillingworth is trying to find the father of his wife's child. The main theme in chapter three and four is obeying the law of the people and if failed to be done it will end in punishment. Journal Entry 3: Chapters 5-6 For the rest of Hester’s life she will be forced to wear a red embroidered “A” at all times on her clothes.
Mr Chillingworth's unnecessary obsession with revenge takes him to a place that is very hard to get back from. Mr. Chillingworth grows more evil every chapter. His intent on torturing Mr. Dimmesdale causes him to become both physically and psychologically monstruous. “Hester Prynne looked at the man of skill, and even then, with her fate hanging in the balance, was startled to perceive what a change had come over his features,
‘Thou hast escaped me!’ he repeated more than once” (242). When Dimmesdale finally frees himself, Chillingworth can no longer torture him. If Dimmesdale had been honest from the
Chillingworth does not know until one night he spots something that looks as if it was a scarlet letter branded on Dimmesdale’s chest. As he sees this Chillingworth completely changes, “At first, his expression had been calm, meditative, scholar-like. Now there was something ugly and evil in his face.” Chillingworth has now turned into Reverend Dimmesdale’s own personal hell, “...haunted either by Satan himself, or Satan’s emissary, in the guise of old Roger Chillingworth.” Chillingworth has now sold his soul to the devil for revenge on
It is ironic that knowledge is what made him sensible, but too much information or the report of his wife’s sins is what transformed him. Hester Prynne’s perspective on Chillingworth is also important when realizing the effects of revenge. Prynne was acquainted with him romantically before her humiliation; she expresses her disappointing realization of his change by stating “for the hatred that has transformed a wise and just man to a fiend!” (XIV, 143). Prynne’s description of his alteration accurately defines what Chillingworth used to be, and what he has become.