Theme Of Evil In The Scarlet Letter

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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. In the first passage, from the chapter,…show more content…
Hawthorne’s use of words such as “mournful,” “sinful,” “dreadful,” “horror,” “shadow,” and “red stigma” create a dark and deathly tone (Hawthorne 381). This tone associates directly with Chillingworth which adds to his nightmarish portrayal in the passage. Hawthorne also uses imagery to portray Chillingworth as a symbol of the devil in the quote “the devil knew it well and fitted it continually with the touch of his burning finger!” he literally calls Chillingworth the devil, and “now at the death-hour, he stands before you” is also used to portray him as the devil because the “death-hour” is foreshadowing the apocalypse and soon coming end to the novel (Hawthorne 381). Chillingworth’s portrayal as evil and the devil is used in the book to reveal that seeking revenge towards Hester caused hate to manifest inside him and transformed him into a much darker and more evil being than he once was in the beginning of the book. This helps the book as a whole convey one of the flaws in society as Chillingworth holds on to his grudge and allows it to control his actions and change
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