Good and Evil in Rappaccini and Chillingworth

Essay by jettaturaHigh School, 10th gradeA+, December 2006

download word file, 4 pages 4.0

Various individuals in Hawthorne's novels seem to have a good and bad aspect of character. These people help show a deeper side of human nature; they show that everyone has some good and some bad. Even the 'bad guys' of the stories have some good in them. Chillingworth and Rappaccini in Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Rappaccini's Daughter" and The Scarlet Letter reveal good and evil qualities of character.

Throughout the Novel, Chillingworth's personality changes from that of a kind and caring person to one of malevolence. When first introduced, his personality is dominated by knowledge and goodwill. He shows a sincere love for knowledge, and cares for his wife. Although, he admits to a loveless marriage with Hester, they supported each other nonetheless. However, once Chillingworth sees Hester on the scaffold, his personality changes drastically. Roger Chillingworth disowns Hester and adopts the pseudonym of Chillingworth to mask his true identity.

By doing this, he spurs a chain of events into motion, leading to his own downfall. While using his alias, he finds Hester's paramour Dimmesdale and reeks revenge upon the man. Chillingworth mentally tortures the man and causes Dimmesdale's deterioration. In the process, the doctor destroys himself and succumbs to animosity. He is consumed by evil and Dimmesdale becomes Roger Chillingworth's only reason to live. When Dimmesdale openly confesses to his affair with Hester, Chillingworth deteriorates:

Nothing was more remarkable than the change which took place...after Dimmesdale's death, in the appearance and demeanor of the old man known as Roger Chillingworth. All his strength and energy...seemed at once to desert him; in so as much that he positively withered up...when...that evil principle [revenge] was left with no further material to support only remained for the unhumanized mortal to betake himself whither his Master [the Devil] would find...