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Scarlet Letter; The Sin Of Hester Prynne

792 words - 4 pages

Roger Chillingworth and Arthur Dimmesdale wage a constant mental and physical battle throughout the Scarlet Letter. Chillingworth, a man of noble purpose and strong dispositions, falls further and further into his obsession of revenge. While at the same time, Dimmesdale, a respected reverend, suffers mentally and physically from his affair with Hester Prynne. As we progress through the novel, a question materializes: who deserves the blame for Hester Prynne’s affair, Chillingworth, Dimmesdale, or Hester Prynne herself? All three main characters believe they hold some sort of responsibility for the affair between Hester Prynne and Reverend Dimmesdale. Ultimately, Hester Prynne wrongs both ...view middle of the document...

A crowd mocks his pregnant wife for having an affair. Chillingworth now devotes his life to finding who wronged both him and his wife. He begs Hester to tell him who has committed this horrible sin, but she refuses. Roger Chillingworth seems weak, miserable, and full of fear. Chillingworth now wants to inflict pain and misery on the adulterer:
Calm, gentle, passionless as he appeared, there was yet, we fear, a quiet depth of malice, hitherto latent, but active now, in this unfortunate old man, which led him to imagine a more intimate revenge than any mortal had ever wreaked upon an enemy. To make himself the one trusted friend to whom should be confided all the fear, the remorse, the agony, the ineffectual repentance, the backward rush of sinful thoughts, expelled in vain! (131).
Hester’s sin changes Chillingworth into a man who was once kind and understanding, to one who wants only to harm and punish. Chillingworth, a physician who wants to heal, now wants to only inflict pain. He enjoys seeing Dimmesdale suffer; this enables him to appreciate his revenge. However, somewhere deep down inside him, he regrets that Dimmesdale’s guilt torchers him. Having taken his revenge, he recovers emotionally, but only for a short time. Then he feels guilt, which slowly eats away at him mentally and physically.

Nathaniel Hawthorne presents the final scaffold scene as the book’s pinnacle...

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