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.
The Scarlet Letter In The Scarlet Letter by Daniel Hawthorne many villainous acts occur that contribute to the plot and direction of the text. One antagonist in the novel is Chillingworth, the “departed” husband of Hester Prynne. Chillingworth and his constant mission to gain his wife's love and to reveal the father with whom Hester's baby was conceived by leads him to take some villainous actions. Chillingworth took many actions to obtain his goals, examples of this are constantly exemplified throughout the novel, one example is Chillingworth’s unrelenting hatred towards Dimmesdale.
In the romantic novel, The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne portrays Roger Chillingworth as the prime example of pure evil. Chillingworth is characterized as a symbol for evil because Hawthorne illustrates him and his thoughts as being associated with the devil and Hell. Through Hawthorne’s descriptions, Chillingworth’s malevolent ideas and eagerness to expose Hester Prynne and Reverend Dimmesdale are revealed. Consequently, Chillingworth serves as the antagonist in the novel because of his plot to seek vengeance on and torment Dimmesdale. Through the use of figurative language and syntax, Chillingworth’s description and his actions symbolize him as a mysterious and wild evil doing the devil’s bidding.
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.
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.
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.
It is as intertwined as yin and yang. Chillingworth and Dimmesdale need each other almost. Chillingworth makes him or the alleged father of Pearl his life 's ambition. He goes as far as to change his name and pose as a friendly doctor.
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
Chillingworth seeks revenge but doesn't quite know how to go about it. The minister feels something negative is coming his way, but does not suspect it to come from a trusted colleague. One gesture that I believe foreshadows the presence of something beneath Dimmesdale’s vestment is when he would often grab his chest in stressful experiences would arise. One example from the text
Dimmesdale and Chillingworth both have secrets that make them look and act differently, their secrets affect their character and how they do their job. Dimmesdale is the father of Pearl but he doesn 't want to face the same humiliation as Hester did for his sins. Because of his secret he self punishes and fasts, he also preaches better than he did before although his health is failing. Chillingworth’s secret is that he was the husband of Hester while he was away, before she cheated on him. Chillingworth gets uglier and uglier driven by the need to get revenge on Pearl’s father.
Dimmesdale allows his guilt to overwhelm his soul while also weakening his body. “It seemed hardly the face of a man alive, with such a deathlike hue; it was hardly a man with life in him, that tottered on his path so nervelessly, yet tottered and did not fall” (206). While Chillingworth’s guilt alters his appearance. “Now there was something ugly and evil in his face, which they had not previously noticed, and which grew still the more obvious to sight, the oftener they looked upon him. According to the vulgar idea, the fire in his laboratory had been brought from the lower regions, and was fed with internal fuel; and so, as might be expected, his visage was getting sooty with the smoke” (78).
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.
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
Chillingworth came back into town and learned his wife had conceived a child with someone. He then made up his mind to find the other adulterer and seek revenge on him. When Chillingworth learned that Dimmesdale was the other adulterer, he did everything he could to make Dimmesdale feel worse. This crime was directed at causing pain and suffering to another, making this a terrible sin (“Who”). Chillingworth and Dimmesdale committed two completely different sins.
We are all sinners. Although one may try hard not to sin, all humans eventually succumb at some time or another to sin. While people may not able to avoid the fate which awaits them, the power of free will allows people to decide how they will respond to sin. While some may respond with guilt and regret, others may react with a sense of redemption and a renewed sense of responsibility.