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.
Roger Chillingworth committed the greater sin in the Scarlet Letter. Chillingworth was a malicious man. After the news that Hester had committed adultery, he became more and more like the “Black Man.” He lied about being a doctor and his identity. Additionally, Chillingworth was the overall cause for Dimmesdale’s death, after seven years of torturing his mind.
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
Other examples of Chillingworth's villainous acts consist of his hidden identity, his guilt trip use towards Hester, and overall his relentless pursuit for revenge. In the actions taken by Chillingworth he swayed the outcome of the novel. Chillingworth is the long lost husband of Hester Prynne. Hester's affair during his time away, forced him to make a secret identity. Chillingworth's identity affects the way a lot of things happen in the novel.
Chillingworth's change over the years makes him the true symbol of evil in the novel. When Hester realizes that Chillingworth is torturing Dimmesdale, she confronts him, and he says, "I have already told thee what I am! A fiend! Who made me so?"
Chillingworth is lazy, and allows his aspiration in science to take priority over godly emotions and affairs, therefore he has sinned. Chillingworth also commits the deadly sin “wrath” through his constant torture of Dimmesdale. Dimmesdale has sinned, but he repents; Chillingworth knows that Dimmesdale repents, he sees the “A” seared onto Dimmesdale’s chest. “With what a ghastly rapture, as, it were, too mighty to be expressed only by the eye and features, and therefore bursting forth through the ugliness of his figure… but what distinguished the physician’s [Chillingworth) ecstasy from Satan’s was the trait of wonder in it!”(130) Chillingworth has seen the “A”, he knows of Dimmesdale’s repenting
After Hester is publicly humiliates with the scarlet symbol, Chillingworth reveals to be “a better physician of [him] than many that claim the medical degree” in the prison (54). His knowledge of medicine helps take care of the baby who was not feeling well as well as Hester Prynne. This evidently shows Chillingworth is a loyal physician when it comes to medical problems. Also, there was that time when Chillingworth and Dimmesdale “came gradually to spend much time together” and eventually became “close friends” (93). Obviously, the truth is Chillingworth did it to find out the truth of Dimmesdale’s secret and later on to ruin him.
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
Chillingworth knew how to hurt such a man with his medical knowledge. His intelligence with herbs allows him to know what hurts, and what kills. The first step to know what Chillingworth poisoned Dimmesdale with is to look at the sinner’s symptoms.
Both his attitude and the result of his revenge describe the effects of a person’s vengeance. Not only did he slowly decompose the life of Dimmesdale, but after the death, he lost reason for living and died also. Though the reader could almost sympathize and possibly even side with Chillingworth at the beginning of the novel because of the adultery Hester committed, the Bible states that vengeance is not man’s, but God’s, and that a man should not return evil with evil. In Roman’s 12:19 God says, “Vengeance is Mine. I will repay,” and in Roman’s 12:21 the Bible says, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
The reader gathers Chillingworth is kind at first, but quickly takes a turn for evil. There is a multitude of proof that Chillingworth is a symbol of evil. The first piece of evidence that proves Chillingworth is a symbol of evil is that he looks extremely peculiar and point to him being evil. Hawthorne starts the reader with the idea that Chillingworth is strange and unidentifiable,
Chillingworth’s mostly connected to “the black man”: the devil, someone the puritans would like to stay away from and avoid. In the puritan society, “the black man” is described as someone with “something in [their] heart is sealed away; and it is the ability to sacrifice oneself for the good of others” which Chillingworth certainly has as the emotional struggle [of being depressed from his wife’s affair] in which Chillingworth is concealed because he’s way too focused on revenge, that he’s detached from ordinary human pursuits. This example can be shown when Chillingworth rips Dimmesdale’s shirt open and the many sickening prescribed medicines he treats Dimmesdale with. One can even say Chillingworth is portrayed as an impenitent; he senses a need for spiritual philosophy
It is expressed to the reader that Chillingworth’s appearance and relationships were greatly affected by revenge. Chillingworth became evil-like and ugly, a direct consequence of his passion. Although, the internal affects came first, and his physical changes came afterwards. The penalties Chillingworth experiences within his inner self is revealed when Hawthorne describes his dramatic transition from sensible to wicked by saying “All his strength and energy-all his vital and intellectual force- seemed at away and almost vanished from moral sight” (XXIV, 212). Chillingworth was at first described as an older man who possessed a mind full of boundless understanding and insight, but later the enlightened thoughts that previously controlled him were severely altered after his arrival to Boston.
Hawthorne even describes him as an “unhappy man had made the very principle of his life to consist in the pursuit and systematic exercise revenge…” (Hawthorne, 254). The phrase “unhappy man” proves that Hawthorne wants the reader to see Chillingworth in a negative way. This quote also proves to the reader that Chillingworth’s main goal in life is revenge. When one wants revenge against another as badly as Chillingworth wants revenge against Dimmesdale, they are so focused on said person that they don’t bother to take a look at themselves.
Now, in Chapter 12 after dealing with Chillingworth's remarks and hate towards Dimmesdale, he is evidently fed up with his presence. As he, Hester, and Pearl are on the scaffold and Pearl points towards Chillingsworth. He makes this remark toward Hester, “ ‘Who is that man, Hester?’...’I shiver at him! Dost thou know the man? I hate him, Hester!’