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Essay about Revenge

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This writing focuses on the character Roger Chillingworth, who is one of the main characters in the Scarlet Letter. Chillingworth is first introduced as a “white man, clad in a strange disarray of civilized clothing and savage costume” (“Scarlet Letter: Page 1365”). It goes on to describe him as a small old man who has a look of high intellect and a deformed body. Chillingworth plays a chilling and disturbing character throughout the book. He acts almost inhumanly, which one could note that even Chillingworth’s name was supposed to portray him as being cold hearted. He was Hester’s husband in the Scarlet Letter. He also took on the role of the town physician, and was referred to as a “leech” which at the time was another name for doctors (“Scarlet Letter: Page 1371”). Another noteworthy attribute of Chillingworth is that he keeps his identity secret deliberately for the majority of the story: “when [Hester] appeared to recognize him, he slowly and calmly raised his finger, made a gesture with it in the air, and laid it on his lips” (“Scarlet Letter: Page 1365”).
Chillingworth’s story begins when he arrives at Boston and witnesses his wife for the first time in two years in public display upon the scaffold. He questions a man about his wife and finds out that he has been wronged by Hester. He is told that she now wears the letter due to carrying out an act of sin. From that moment Chillingworth character becomes darker and intent upon revenge. However, an interesting fact is his revenge was never pointed at Hester: “We have wronged each other; mine was the first wrong, when I betrayed thy budding youth into a false and unnatural relation with my decay. Therefore as a man who has not thought and philosophized in vain, I seek no ...


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...om mortal sight, like an uprooted weed that lies wilting into the sun.” (“Scarlet Letter: Page 1471-1472”)
Chillingworth’s evil that kept him alive throughout the story, ended up being the final cause of his death. Chillingworth’s entire being was devoted to the “pursuit and systematic exercise of revenge” and once his revenge was complete, the evil that drove Chillingworth left him as an “unhumanized mortal” that did nothing but exist (“Scarlet Letter: Page 1472”). So it can be said the evil Chillingworth possessed eventually turned inside him itself and not only destroyed the one it was pointed at, but also the one who did the pointing.



Works Cited

Baym, Nina, editor. The Norton Anthology of American Literature. 6th edition. Volume B. New York: Norton, 2003; Print
Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The Scarlet Letter. Boston: Ticknor, Reed & Fields, 1850; Inside Norton


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