How Did Chillingworth's Character Change Throughout The Scarlet Letter

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In the novel, The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Hester Prynne experiences social out-casting from her community due to a sin she has committed. The novel begins with Hester being publically humiliated by her town because she has committed adultery with an unknown man. Many are affected by Hester’s sin and are either changed for the better or for the worst. Of these people who are affected, one major character faces his own personal sin, caused by the anger he feels for Hester’s initial sin. Roger Chillingworth changes throughout the novel based on his decision to live his life for sin and evil, which Hawthorne shows in Roger’s first appearance to the town, his relationship with Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale, as well as his physical appearance …show more content…
With each progressing moment, Roger changes based on living solely for the sin of vengeance and evil. Hawthorn depicts this physical decomposition through the meeting between Hester and Chillingworth, “…Hester had been looking steadily at the old man, and was shocked, as well as wonder-smitten, to discern what a change had been wrought upon him in the last seven years. But the former aspect of an intellectual and studious man, calm and quiet, which was what she best remembered in him, had altogether vanished and had been succeeded by an eager searching, almost fierce, yet carefully guarded look.” (116). The quote greatly relates to what has happened to Chillingworth throughout the novel. After dedicating his life to revenge, he begins to change for the worse. Hawthorne uses this description of Chillingworth in order to display how he no longer resembles his past self, who was without sin, but a man barely recognizable. Roger, who dedicated his entire life to sin and revenge, now resembles the evil growing within him. “Old Roger Chillingworth was a striking evidence of man’s faculty of transforming himself into a Devil, if he will only, for a reasonable space of time, undertake a Devil’s office...” (116). This quote derives from the narrator, who speaks out on the effect of torture on the heart and soul. Hawthorne uses this analysis to coincide with how the people of the town, including Hester, visualize Roger after seven years of decaying from the man he once was and now to be associated with the devil. Due to his lack of compassion and his ambition to administer guilt and suffering to Arthur Dimmesdale for the rest of his life, Chillingworth no longer mirrors man he was before sin took hold of his

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