The Fall Of Chillingworth Essay

1134 words - 5 pages

"He is the complete type of man of the world, the social ideal,--courteous, quiet, well informed, imperturbably. Nevertheless, his moral nature is a poisonous and irreclaimable wilderness, in which blooms not a single flower of heavenly parentage." (J. Hawthorne) Over the course of seven years, Roger Chillingworth changes from a calm, scholarly, and kind person to an evil, corrupt, and satanic being.

Roger Chillingworth's life in England with Hester was happy. He studied alchemy, and was scholarly and well learned. Although Hester and Chillingworth did not share love, they were happy together. "…he used to emerge at eventide from the seclusion of his study and sit down in the ...view middle of the document...

He admits that Hester did not stand by herself in this wrongdoing. "It was my folly, and they weakness. I--a man of thought, the bookworm of great libraries...men call me wise...I might have foreseen all this...I might have beheld the bale-fire of that scarlet letter blazing at the end of our path!" (71-72) He believed they were evenly balanced in their wrong doing and sought no vengeance against her. Chillingworth then decided his new purpose in life would be to find Hester's lover, which she has carefully concealed. These are the first hints of the evil that would soon consume him.

The following three years bring many negative changes to Chillingworth. "Hester Pryne was startled to perceive what a change has come over his features--how his dark complexion seemed to have grown duskier, and his figure more misshapen…" (108) He had established himself as a doctor in Boston. People felt it was Divine providence that Chillingworth came to Boston to tend for their loved Minister Dimsdale. Chillingworth became acquaintances with Dimsdale and eventually moved in with him. Chillingworth studied the Minister closely and tore through his ideas and thoughts. "He now dug into the poor clergy man's heart like a miner searching for gold; or, rather, like a sexton delving into a grave, possibly in quest of a jewel that had been buried on the dead man's bosom, but likely to find nothing save mortality and corruption." (125) Chillingworth is now almost completely consumed with evil. He still is calm, but was never released from his horrible fascination with learning the identity of Pearl's father. In the presence of so much wickedness over the course of three years changed Chillingworth.

Chillingworth is being consumed by evil gradually; consequently, when he finds the marking on Dimsdale's chest, assuring him his victim, he is completely overcome by devilry knowing at last that he has found his victim. "Had a man seen old Roger Chillingworth, at that moment of his ecstasy, he would have had no need to ask how Satan comports himself when a precious human soul is lost to heaven and won into his kingdom." (135) With his victim now certain, he changed his purpose in life from searching to revenge. He attempts to get Dimsdale to confess to him, but Dimsdale refuses. ...

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