The Scarlet Letter Essay

847 words - 4 pages

Revenge consumes the soul of the beholder, and leaves him a shell of his former self. Revenge often leads the avenger down an irreversible path that ultimately proves to be detrimental to him. Such acts are especially grave in the view of Puritans, who believed that vengeance belonged only to God. Nathaniel Hawthorne was a master of words, a literary genius who had a deep understanding of human emotions and boundaries. Hawthorne uses The Scarlet Letter to reprimand revenge as a detrimental act that can radically alter a person, and yet never allow them to be satisfied, using Chillingworth’s own thoughts, and dialogues to characterize his transformation from a scholarly person to a devil ...view middle of the document...

His intentions of extracting revenge on the man “who has wronged [them] both” (72) was clear, and indicated his desire to reclaim the honor of a cuckold. These dialogues marked the beginning of Chillingworth’s descent to infamy.
After he had settled in town for three years as the resident physician, Chillingworth had no doubt been vigilant in his search for Pearl’s father. He used his highly valued skills as a doctor as a pretense in getting to personally know most of the townspeople. He had been particularly wary of the Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale, whom the townspeople had asked him to look after. As they became more and more attached, Chillingworth began to “dig a little further in the direction of this vein!” (126), hoping to discover the reason behind Dimmesdale’s ailing illness. At this point, he still had the chance to revert from his inevitable demise, but when he uncovered the Reverend’s chest, what he saw comported Satan “himself when a precious human soul is lost to heaven and won into his kingdom” (135). It is here that Chillingworth reached the final stage of his transformation. His desire for revenge had all but consumed his soul.
Made in his resolve to torment Dimmesdale for every second of his life, Chillingworth’s speech took a new sense of urgency and exasperation. He asserted to Hester “[his] finger, pointed at [Dimmesdale], would have hurled him from his pulpit into a...

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