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Roger Chillingworth in The Scarlet Letter

In the novel The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, a character by the name of Roger Chillingworth had committed the worst sin of all; he basically killed another character, Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale. Everyone has been in a position where they have had the chance of blackmailing or plotting revenge on someone. Chillingworth did exactly that and ended torturing Dimmesdale to his death. Dimmesdale was not the single one affected by Chillingworth’s devilish doings. Chillingworth had a wife, but no one knew of their relationship.

Her name was Hester Prynne and she had an tactless child named Pearl. The Reverend Dimmesdale had an affair with Hester, and he is the real father of Pearl. Throughout the novel the people of Boston were withheld this information, along with the information of Hester’s real husband. Chillingworth was a physician, or back in those days a doctor was called a leech. Dimmesdale started to feel ill, that was the beginning of the end for him. Dimmesdale became more than just a patient of Chillingworth, but a roommate as well.

Being in such close contact with Dimmesdale, Chillingworth came to know the minister’s most private emotions, and began to suspect that Dimmesdale’s illness was the result of a deep secret that at no time had been confessed to another. In a conversation with Hester, Chillingworth made a vow to discover the real father of Pearl, and let everyone know about him. In a conversation with Dimmesdale, Chillingworth brings up the question of why anyone would be willing to carry “secret sins” to his grave instead of confessing them during his lifetime.

Dimmesdale and Chillingworth exchanged thoughts. Chillingworth’s said, “Wouldst thou have me to believe, O wise and pious friend, that a false show can be better–can be more for God’s glory, or man’s welfare-than God’s own truth? Trust me, such men deceive themselves! ”(129) After hearing this Dimmesdale felt uneasy and changed the subject. This act caused Chillingworth to become suspicious. A few days later, Chillingworth found Dimmesdale asleep in a chair. Chillingworth silently moved in on Dimmesdale.

Once Chillingworth had reached Dimmesdale’s body, he swiftly removed Dimmesdale’s church robe and saw the scarlet letter on the chest before him, which ended Chillingworth’s search for the father of Pearl. Now that Chillingworth knew Hester and Dimmesdale’s secret, his change to evil was complete. Chillingworth had gone from a caring individual to a devil. Chillingworth acknowledges this; he says in a conversation with Hester, “Dost thou remember me? Was I not, though you might deem me cold, nevertheless a man thoughtful for others, craving little for himself, kind, true, just, and of constant, if not warm affections? And what I am now? …. I have already told thee what I am! A fiend! Who made me so? ” (169) Chillingworth believes Dimmesdale made him into a “fiend”(169).

To Chillingworth, Dimmesdale was weak and deserved what was coming to him. Hawthorne talks about Chillingworth’s death with no emotion, even though Chillingworth played a large role in the death of Dimmesdale. Chillingworth tortured Dimmesdale to his death. Chillingworth proclaimed, “Hadst thou sought the whole earth over there was no one place so secret–no high place nor lowly place where thou couldst have escaped me–save on this very scaffold! 248-249) Dimmesdale was finally out of captivity.

In addition, Dimmesdale asks God to forgive Chillingworth of his sin. Chillingworth could no longer bother Dimmesdale. In the last chapter of the book, Hawthorne tells of how Robert Chillingworth withered up and shriveled away. Hawthorne acquaints that the physician’s fate was the most horrible of the three because his sin was the darkest. In the beginning of The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne depicts Chillingworth as a stranger, but also as a considerate man.

Chillingworth made a deal with Hester that he would not tell everyone that he is her husband. Chillingworth does a little investigating on Dimmesdale because of Dimmesdale’s unusual acts and behavior. After finding out the truth, Chillingworth begins to torment Dimmesdale up till his last breath. Chillingworth forced Hester to keep her vow of silence in which she would not reveal his relationship with her as her husband to anyone. In conclusion, Chillingworth performed the prohibited sin in which he pushes Reverend Dimmesdale to his ultimate doom.