Character analysis of Hawthorne's "The Scarlet Letter" Chillingsworth and Dimmesdale.

Essay by z71guy03High School, 11th gradeA, February 2003

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In The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne the reader gains insight into the background and personalities of the characters through Roger Chillingworth and Arthur Dimmesdale. These two characters show us the evil in the novel, the unfolding sin, and add a special romance to the novel

Arthur Dimmesdale is the preacher in the Puritan settlement. He becomes involved with Hester Pyrnne, the wife of Roger Chillingworth. Pearl, Hester's daughter comes to her from Reverend Dimmesdale. Hester is forced to stand on the scaffold in front of the community to confess whom she committed adultery with. However, Hester does not divulge any information. Therefore, her husband changes his name and the issue remains at ease for 7 years until her husband observes the condition of Arthur Dimmesdale. Arthur is described as having "a white, lofty, and impending brow"(Hawthorne 46), which suggests that he knows what is right and he has "large, brown, melancholy eyes"(46) that are the window to his soul.

His eyes allow Roger Chillingworth to see through him later in the novel. Arthur keeps his great sin inside of him for 7 long years and Hester is forced to wear the letter A as a symbol of adultery. Throughout the 7 years Arthur has been suffering continually, and he always keeps his hand over his heart as a symbol of his love towards Hester and Pearl. Dimmesdale knows intellectually what the moral thing is to do, and he even tries good works, but the darkness in his soul supercedes the goodness in his head.

Roger Chillingworth, shunning his wife for the crime she committed becomes a respected individual and a physician to Arthur Dimmesdale, whose health is failing. During the treatment Chillingworth sees some wound or trouble in Dimmesdale's soul that is contributing to...