Roger Chillingworth Analysis

Essay by coreyRIHigh School, 11th gradeA, October 2014

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Roger Chillingworth, Scholarly Man to cold-hearted Devil

Out of all the characters in The Scarlet Letter, Roger Chillingworth endures the most dramatic transformation. He goes from a kind scholar to someone who is bent on dealing out misery and revenge. His scientific nature allows him to pry deep into the mind of Dimmesdale, inflicting psychological pain that could not be undone. He believes that his actions are justified, but in reality he became a worse sinner then Hester or Dimmesdale. He ignored Hester's pleas to stop, becoming a pawn of the Devil, unable to feel or understand human emotions.

Prior to arriving in Boston, Roger Chillingworth was a scholarly man, one of great intellect. He was more concentrated on his studies then Hester; he sent her away from Europe, promising that he would join her in the near future. Chillingworth was held captive by the Natives when he came to North America, and was shocked to see what was happening when he emerged from the Forest.

He was "a man, elderly, travel-worn, who, just emerging from the perilous wilderness, beheld the woman, in whom he hoped to find embodied the warmth and cheerfulness of home, set up as a type of sin before the people".(176) He later realizes that this situation was inevitable, as Chillingworth is several years older than Hester, and much less attractive. Chillingworth's appearance was described as being "well stricken in years"(89), while Hester was young and beautiful. At this point, Chillingworth sees no other option but to get revenge on Hester and her secret lover, later found out to be Minister Dimmesdale. He believes they deserved to be punished, as committing adultery was one of the worst sins you can commit in the deeply religious Puritan society. As the novel progresses,