The Scarlet Letter By Nathaniel Hawthorn

1053 words - 5 pages

Revenger consumes the soul of the extractor, and leaves him a shell of his former self. Revenge often leads him down an irreversible path that ultimately proves to be detrimental to him. Such acts are especially grave according to Puritan belief, which holds that vengeance belonged only to God. As a Puritan, Nathaniel Hawthorn knew about such believes, and as a master of words, a literary genius who had a deep understanding of human emotions and boundaries, he develops a story whose central theme was revenge. Hawthorne uses The Scarlet Letter to reprimand revenge as a detrimental act never allows a person to be satisfied and in the end, destroys him. He uses Chillingworth’s conversations ...view middle of the document...

Had he intended on delivering justice, he would not have given any second thought to killing the bastard child. This is an interesting action by Chillingworth because he selectively choses what wrongs to right. He does not act against Hester and Pearl, but focuses his attention on extracting revenge on the man who has wronged them all. Such actions indicate his desire to reclaim the honor of a cuckold. Hawthorn intentionally leads the reader to believe that Chillingworth is a just and rational man who would return to the sedentary world of books once he avenged his honor.
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. Because he was a man of logic, Chillingworth expertly sleuthed around the village in his search for his victim. 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 into the private thoughts of Dimmesdale, hoping to discover the reason behind his faltering health. At this point, he still had the chance to revert from his inevitable demise by forgiving the perpetrator, thus practicing the Christian principle of mercy so honored in Puritan society. However, 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). Using Chillingworth’s conversations with Hester and Dimmesdale, Hawthorne was able to build toward the climax of the novel: the result of revenge, and its effects on the Puritan society.
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 dungeon – thence, peradventure, to the gallows” (167). He knew that...

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