Roger Chillingworth Analysis Essay

Roger Chillingworth Analysis Essay-73
The reader feels a bit sorry for Roger Chillingworth during the first scaffold scene when he arrives in Massachusetts Bay Colony and finds his wife suffering public shame for an adulterous act.

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He violates Dimmesdale's heart and soul to see how he will react. Eventually when Hester talks with him about whether Dimmesdale's debt has been paid, Chillingworth says that it would have been better had he died than endure seven years of vengeance.

Hawthorne also uses Hester to show what has happened to Chillingworth in isolating himself from humanity.

His rude awakening is described a second time in Chapter 9 when Hawthorne calls him "a man, elderly, travel-worn, who, just emerging from the perilous wilderness, beheld the woman, in whom he hoped to find embodied the warmth and cheerfulness of home, set up as a type of sin before the people." What should have been a warm and loving homecoming after being apart from his wife has become terrible. While he was a captive of the Indians for "upward of a year," he did not judge them as heathens and infidels, and, unlike the Puritans, he did not seek to convert them.

Instead, as the scholar, he studied their knowledge of herbs and medicines to learn.

Once he comes to Boston, we see him only in situations that involve his obsession with vengeance, where we learn a great deal about him. dropping down, as it were, out of the sky, or starting from the nether earth . .") in the novel by associating him with deformity, wildness (the Indians), and mysterious power.

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Hawthorne begins building this symbol of evil vengeance with Chillingworth's first appearance (". Having just ended over a year of captivity by the Indians, his appearance is hideous, partly because of his strange mixture of "civilized and savage costume." Even when he is better dressed, however, Chillingworth is far from attractive.As a paragon of this group, Chillingworth lives in a world of scholarly pursuits and learning.Even when he was married to Hester, a beautiful, young woman, he shut himself off from her and single-mindedly pursued his scholarly studies.Chillingworth has become such a fiend that his very existence depends on Dimmesdale.When he knowingly smiles to Hester at the Election Day ceremony, he is acknowledging that he, too, will be on that ship bound for Europe, the faithful companion of the minister. When Dimmesdale surprises the physician and climbs the scaffold to confess, Chillingworth knows the minister is about to escape him.His love of learning and intellectual pursuit attracts Dimmesdale. Hawthorne says, "there was a fascination for the minister in the company of the man of science, in whom he recognized an intellectual cultivation of no moderate depth or scope; together with a range and freedom of ideas that he would have vainly looked for among the members of his own profession." This love of wisdom is what will draw the two men together, thus facilitating Chillingworth's plans.In Chillingworth, Hawthorne has created the "man of science," a man of pure intellect and reason with no concern for feelings. In Chapter 9, Hawthorne describes the scarcity of Chillingworth's scientific peers in the New World: "Skillful men, of the medical and chirurgical profession, were of rare occurrence in the colony." These men of science have lost the spiritual view of human beings because they are so wrapped up in the scientific intricacies of the human body.Hawthorne writes, "He had begun an investigation, as he imagined, with the severe and equal integrity of a judge, desirous only of truth, even as if the question involved no more than the air-drawn lines and figures of a geometrical problem, instead of human passions, and wrongs inflicted on itself." Here the cold intellect of the publicly emerging nineteenth century scientist is used as a framework for Chillingworth's pursuit.This is what makes Chillingworth diabolical and, in Hawthorne's eyes, the greatest sinner.So Hawthorne skewers their belief in mentioning Chillingworth's arrival when he states, "Individuals of wiser faith, indeed, who knew that Heaven promotes its purposes without aiming at the stage-effect of what is called miraculous interposition, were inclined to see a providential hand in Roger Chillingworth's opportune arrival." When Chillingworth arrives in the colony and learns of Hester's situation, he leaves her alone nearly seven years as he single-mindedly pursues Dimmesdale. Because he married her when she was young and beautiful and then shut himself away with his books, he realizes that their marriage did not follow "the laws of nature." He could not believe she, who was so beautiful, could marry a man "misshapen since my birth hour." He deluded himself that his intellectual gifts dazzled her and she forgot his deformity.He now realizes that from the moment they met, the scarlet letter would be at the end of their path.


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