How Does Hawthorne Present The Theme Of Revenge In The Scarlet Letter

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A person seeks revenge when another wrongs him or her in order to feel satisfaction and receive justice, but his or her acts may cause him or her to become like the other. Nathaniel Hawthorne portrays revenge as a sin worse than adultery in his novel The Scarlet Letter. Roger Chillingworth, a physician, reveals in the beginning that he does not feel anger towards Hester, only towards the man who did not confess his sin. Chillingworth stays in town with his real identity hidden and notices a drastic deterioration of Dimmesdale 's health, which he concluded it as a reflection of the guilt inside. However, after spending years of observing and studying Dimmesdale, Chillingworth decides to take revenge by hurting Dimmesdale in every way possible …show more content…
Standing on the scaffold with Pearl in the confession of her sin, Hester notices a familiar figure in the crowd. Hawthorne describes Chillingworth with “a remarkable intelligence in his features, as of a person who had so cultivated his mental part that it could not fail to mould the physical to itself” (52). After years of studying and researching, Chillingworth displays his intelligence by appearing as a knowledgeable person, connecting his mental and physical states to emphasize his intelligence, suggesting how logic leads to positive ideas and results. Hawthorne contrasts the duality of people and implies that even the most “elite” of people can be led astray, which contradicts the Puritan belief of predestination. Furthermore, Hawthorne implies that Chillingworth is the husband that left Hester alone in the colonies when Chillingworth,visits Hester in her prison. After Chillingworth threatens to expose the man of sin, Hester asks “Why dost thou smile so at me?... Art thou like the Black Man that haunts the forest?” (65). Hester alludes to the devil, indicating the evilness in Chillingworth, suggesting his ominous actions. His name, Chillingworth, implies coldness and distance and suggests a lack of sympathy. The implications of evilness reveal the immediate consequence of revenge and hatred. …show more content…
Chillingworth becomes both a doctor and a friend of Dimmesdale, the minister. The townspeople grateful for a presence of medical help, but now they starts to doubt Chillingworth’s personal history. “Now, there was something ugly and evil in his face… which grew still the more obvious to the sight” (105). Evilness exemplifies, on Chillingworth’s face, the obsession and constant search because his soul is “ugly” and corrupted. The growth of distinction on his face highlights the evolution of hatred, which becomes worse because he does not yet feel satisfaction yet. The development supports the concept that revenge cannot heal wounds because it only deepens the scar by preventing the person from continuing life. When Hester sees Dimmesdale’s deteriorating state, after she realizes Chillingworth’s plan, Hester confronts Chillingworth and asks him for forgiveness. Chillingworth portrays “a striking evidence of man’s faculty of transforming himself into a devil” (140). Chillingworth’s thoughts of revenge and evilness turns him into a representation of his thoughts. By comparing him to the devil, Hawthorne reveals Chillingworth’s deterioration as a human being while he hurts Dimmesdale, confirming that he cannot escape the consequences of his own sin. Chillingworth may be punishing Dimmesdale for sin of adultery, but at the same time, he is punishing himself by

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