Pearl and Chillingworth's Struggle for Dimmesdale's Soul in The Scarlet Letter
Although seen as a holy magistrate, Reverend Dimmesdale committed the sin of adultery. Not only did he violate his reverence for Hester Prynne’s soul (Hawthorne 234), but he also wronged her husband, Roger Chillingworth. In addition to this, Dimmesdale hid …show more content…
The wickedness in Chillingworth’s nature did not fester unnoticed. Hester asks him if he is the Black Man that haunts the forest (Hawthorne 68); the Black Man being the devil, and the forest representing evil in general. Even Hawthorne says that old Roger Chillingworth is Satan’s emissary, or even a guise for Satan himself (114). His impiety was powerful enough to be compared with the Devil’s. In one scene from the book, Pearl sees Chillingworth and Dimmesdale together; she tells her mother that the Black Man has caught the minister (Hawthorne 120). Pearl is very perceptive to the influence that he has over Arthur, as well as many other things about the minister and Chillingworth.
As for the good of Dimmesdale, Pearl represents the way to salvation. The little child is a symbol for everything pure and good when it comes to struggle for the minister’s soul. When Pearl remarked that the Black Man captured the minister’s soul, she simply laughed saying that he could not catch her (Hawthorne 120). Chillingworth, the Devil, could not affect little Pearl’s guiltless person. Even in the forest, an evil place, the sunshine came through the thick trees and shown down on Pearl, but it ran and hid from Hester (Hawthorne 166). Light was able to shine on innocent Pearl, but the letter of shame on her mother’s breast caused darkness to precede her every