The Evil Characters In The Scarlet Letter

1048 words - 5 pages

The Scarlet Letter, a book of sin and guilt, reveals two
characters that are so purely evil, that it is hard to believe
that such characters could be created---Roger Chillingworth and
Mistress Hibbins. Chillingworth and Hibbins may seem like good
people, but they really just symbolize evil.
Roger Chillingworth is the elderly husband of Hester
Prynne, who is shunned by the whole colony of Boston
Massachusetts for the sin of adultery she has committed with the
town’s praised minister. The people of the colony see
Chillingworth as a friendly physician who was sent by God to
return people like Arthur Dimmesdale, the town’s praised
minister, back to health. However, as the book goes on he is
known as something entirely different. Chillingworth is a person
who is driven by vengeance and is determined to find out who the
father of Hester’s daughter is. A particular scene reveals this,
as Chillingworth attempts to give Hester a prescription to help
her sleep and Hester accuses him of trying to kill her, “Dost
thou know me so little, Hester Prynne? Are my purpose wont to be
so shallow? Even if I imagine scheme of vengeance, what could I
do better for my object than to let thee live?” (Hawthorne p.
50) Chillingworth is saying that because of Hester’s sin, she is
shunned by everyone and that the shame will remain with her and
haunt her for the rest of her life. Everyday of her life is full
of suffering and Chillingworth wants her to live so she can
suffer in the worst way possible and that is to let her live. In
addition, Chillingworth says, “I shall feel myself shudder,
suddenly ad unawares. Sooner or later, he must needs be
mine!” (p. 52) His drive of revenge is so powerful that the soul
of Hester’s lover, will be his forever. In the same way,
Chillingworth is compared to “The Black Man” when Hester Prynne
says, “Art thou like the Black Man that haunts the forest round
about us? Hast thou enticed me into a bond that will prove the
ruin of my soul?” says Hester Prynne. “Not thy soul,” he
answered, with another smile. “No, not thine.” (Pg. 53) Revenge
has twisted Chillingworth’s mind into evil, for he wants to ruin
the soul of the one who dared to be involved in his wife’s
Even though Arthur Dimmesdale is the lover and the father,
Roger doesn’t know this, but he does know that Dimmesdale knows
something which is why Chillingworth torments him everyday like
this, “So Roger Chillingworth----the man of skill, the kind and
friendly physician---strove to go deep into his patient’s bosom,
delving among his principles, prying into his recollections, and
probing every thing with a cautious touch, like a treasureseeker
in a dark cavern.” There’s a sense of sarcasm because
Hawthorne says here’s a guy that has a skill of a kind and
friendly physician, who strives to look for the soul of the one
the call Hester’s lover through torment and demonic ways.
Chillingworth is determined to get the information that he needs
that it’s like a...

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