What Is The Theme Of Revenge In The Scarlet Letter By Nathaniel Hawthorne

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The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorn is about the puritan society in the 1640s and the hypocritical views they have on their community. In the beginning of the novel, Hester Prynne is found guilty of the sin of adultery with an unknown man (later learned to be Arthur Dimmesdale, the priest). At this time an adulterer would generally be to death, however, Hester is spared from such a fate as many believe her husband, Rodger Chillingworth, may be dead. Instead, as punishment Hester is made to stand upon the scaffold for three hours as well as to always wear a scarlet letter A, in order to forever be reminded of her crime. During her time upon the scaffold her husband, Mr. Chillingworth shows up. He later urges her to keep his existence …show more content…
Mr. Chillingworth eventually learns of Dimmesdale’s sin and seeks revenge by torturing him with loneliness and guilt. This on top of Dimmesdale’s own remorse causes both he and Chillingworth to decline in health both physically and mentally. Hawthorn shows through the characters Arthur Dimmesdale and Rodger Chillingworth the theme of revenge destroying both the victim and the seeker.
Rodger Chillingworth, whilst seeking his revenge, ultimately loses his humanity. Rodger Chillingworth, by focusing his energies solely on revenge seeking, loses his devotion to his passions that make him who he is. Mr. Chillingworth, in the beginning is described as “a person of great skill in physic” (162). Before he comes to America, Chillingworth is a renowned physician of great skill. He carries these skills over to the new world. However, after learning of Hester’s betrayal he immediately decides to go after the man saying “I shall see him tremble. I shall feel myself shudder, suddenly and unawares. Sooner or later, he must needs be mine.” (114) Chillingworth, taking a more sinister path than before, uses his knowledge to further torture Dimmesdale by both poisoning him and prolonging his death. When Rodger loses what he has known all his life of
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In the novel, Arthur Dimmesdale’s continuously deteriorating health is only fueled by Rodger’s covert attempts to extract revenge on Dimmesdale. As told, Mr. Dimmesdale’s health in the beginning of the book is delicate. It is said to be brought on “by his too unreserved self-sacrifice to the labors and duties of the pastoral relation.” (162) When the priest and Chillingworth become closer friends it is suggested that they move in together so the trained physician can carefully oversee Dimmesdale’s health as it progressed. Chillingworth readily agrees leaving Mr. Dimmesdale little choice or reason to deny him. Chillingworth seizes this opportunity to investigate as well as (begin) his (revenge). As Chillingworth’s revenge further declines Dimmesdale’s health more rapidly, robbing Arthur of his life. Chillingworth puts a large toll on Dimmesdale’s vitality, yet remains anomalously behind the curtain, under the façade of helping him to recover. Dimmesdale cannot escape his unseen torment, as it is literally living in the same room as him. His destruction in eminent without anyway of foreseeing a solution to stop it, Dimmesdale looking to only Mr. Chillingworth, the fiend himself, to help him. On top of Rodger Chillingworth torture, Mr. Dimmesdale hurts himself in retribution for his cowardliness in his inability to speak out for what he has done. Dimmesdale is

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