Forgiveness In Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

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How would one feel, if after being separated from one 's wife for years, she went and left her marriage vows for the arms of another man? Would one feel enraged, discouraged, or unworthy? Could it be possible to welcome her back with open arms? Or would the wounds run too deep, too wide, and too broad for any measure of forgiveness to ever overcome? This is the situation that readers see the old Mr. Chillingworth thrust into at the beginning of the Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorn; it is to the readers horror the extent of earthly torture that he takes for revenge throughout the story. As the antagonist, Chillingworth will not be sufficed until he has revenge for the wrong that was wrought on him. Rodger Chillingworth allows his …show more content…
Throughout the course of time, there has been an understood ideal that a wife belongs to her husband and vice versa. Rodger Chillingworth had the same marital claim to Hester Pryne as any other married man. In Anglican England and Puritan Massachusetts Bay, this belief would have come from the Judeo-Christian Bible passage Genesis 2:24 : “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” This would have been a clearly understood and well known chapter to both Chillingworth and Pryne in their first discourse in chapter four of the novel. In this discourse he reminds Hester that though they did not love each other, he is still her husband and she is still his wife. This is Chillingworth 's clearest motive for his actions in the rest of the story. As Hester 's husband, He has a right to see her fellow adulterer brought to justice, and will see it done by any earthly …show more content…
For seven years, he haunted Reverend Dimsdale 's every move, pretending to be his friend and companion. In reality, the supposed physician was digging deep into the ministers heart and soul to discover the truth he believed was hidden within: the identity of his wife 's lover. One can perceive that to this end, Mr Chillingworth gave the Reverend not medicine, but a form of light poison or an in-digest-ant intended to weaken the poor man to the point of absolute desperation. Thus, his righteous motives led to desperate actions, starting a revengeful cycle from which no good could

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