Roger Chillingworth Characterization

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The character Roger Chillingworth in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter helps to construct the novel through his pursuit of evil. His name, physical appearance, and his actions show his negative intentions for Hester, Pearl, and Dimmesdale. His character is portrayed as an entity of the devil, who works toward the main goal of exposing Dimmesdale.
Chillingworth is Hester’s husband, who she had planned to leave England and start a new life in Boston with. Hester and him are a part of the many people who emigrated from Europe for religious freedom and better economic opportunity, as discussed in the photo project. She had come to Boston first, while he lived with the Native Americans. While he was away, Hester had an illegitimate child
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Chillingworth’s sole motivation throughout the book, which was to expose Dimmesdale, was so remarkable that after Dimmesdale died, a drastic, negative change took place in him. The narrator states, “all of his strength and energy —all his vital and intellectual force—seemed at once to desert him, insomuch that he positively withered up, shrivelled away and almost vanished from mortal sight” (p. 388). This shows that Chillingworth became so evil, that it became his only will to live. The evil that had possessed Chillingworth was the reason for his demise. The evil is also shown when Hester contrasts how she used to know him to how she knows him now, when she thinks about the change over his features. She “was startled to perceive what a change had come over his features—how much uglier they were, how his dark complexion seemed to have grown duskier, and his figure more misshapen—since the days when she had familiarly known him” (p. 167). Additionally, the way that the author describes him shows his negative impact and purpose. When Chillingworth attempts to stop Dimmesdale from admitting his secret to the people, the narrator describes his look as “disturbed and evil” (p. 377). The way that the author has described Chillingworth and using other characters’ thoughts, the narrator …show more content…
One of the most prominent adjectives used by Hawthorne to describe Chillingworth is writhing. Hawthorne states, “a writhing horror twisted itself across his features, like a snake gliding swiftly over them, and making one little pause, with all its wreathed intervolutions in open sight” (p. 92). Writhing means to make continual twisting, squirming movements or contortions of the body. The word writhing is used to describe a snake, which the author compares Chillingworth to. Chillingworth’s evil is compared to the snake’s evil in the story of Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden. In addition, the word tempestuous, meaning characterized by strong and turbulent or conflicting emotion, is used to describe him. This word fits Chillingworth because his strong emotion for tormenting Hester is the main reason for his character. Additionally, Hawthorne uses symbols to represent Chillingworth. The recurring symbol of the Black Man is a representation of the devil, but is also used to describe Chillingworth in his relationship with Dimmesdale. When Hester and Chillingworth are talking in the forest she asks, Art thou like the Black Man that haunts the forest round about us?” (p. 116). This shows how Chillingworth is the human representation of the devil in Hester’s life. The author also associates Chillingworth with actions. Chillingworth’s position as a doctor has been compared to a leech, as

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