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Chillingworth Scarlet Letter Essay On Symbolism

Chilling Chillingworth the Crook in The Scarlet Letter

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In The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne constantly attributes the qualities of a thief to the mysteriously shady character, Roger Chillingworth. Throughout the novel, we see that regardless of who he is around, or where he is, he is repeatedly referred to countless of times as ?the old Black Man? (131). This nickname that he is given displays quite evidently that Hawthorne had no doubt intended for Chillingworth to assume the role of a cold, and shadowy personage akin to that of a lowly thief. As thieves are well known for and need to be, they are usually silent, stealthy, and more often than not, baffling, in the sense that no one else knows their cunningness and what they really are thinking of when they commit their crimes. These attributes match up directly to Roger?s personality, and throughout the novel, we see that he gradually grows to become the exact impersonation of a thief. The below examples serve to demonstrate these similarities. In the first few chapters, all the way to the tenth chapter, the reader suspects that Chillingworth has a hidden motive in tagging along as Arthur Dimmesdale?s physician. However, toward the end of chapter eleven, we realize that the mysterious Chillingworth was not simply following Dimmesdale around to hear in on other people?s confessions but also to spy on the reverend minister and his activities! After a period of time, the physician digs up something from Dimmesdale?s past that we are not aware of just yet. However, the reaction which we see upon Chillingworth?s face after his discovery is curious indeed, with him ?[having] a wild look of wonder, joy, and horror? (135) at the same time. Hawthorne goes further beyond this description by comparing this sudden outburst of emotion to Satan?s ecstasy by saying that the only factor which ?distinguished [Chillingworth?s] ecstasy from Satan?s was the trait of wonder in it? (135). As the reader delves deeper into the book, we come to the conclusion that Dimmesdale is indeed the father of Pearl, the product of the horrendous sin consummated through Dimmesdale?s and Hester?s illicit affair. This point brings us back to Chillingworth?s reaction to realizing this earlier at the end of chapter ten. Although this shocking news explains why Chillingworth might have been angry or horrified, it does not clarify why Chillingworth did not attempt to murder or poison Dimmesdale whilst he had the chance, especially since the reader knows from a point made by Chillingworth earlier in the book, that after Chillingworth had sought out the man who had an affair with his Hester, he would have his long sought-after revenge (73).

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Chillingworth         Scarlet Letter         Roger Chillingworth         Other People         Black Man         Tenth         Suspects         Thief         Arthur Dimmesdale         Displays        




This point further enhances my point, as ?his long sought-after revenge? most likely indicated the killing of his enemy. Through these two terrific examples, the reader can clearly deduce that Hawthorne had intentionally planned for Roger Chillingworth to be an extremely sinister and vengeful character much like a thief, yet one who seeks retribution in his arcane ways.



Symbolization of Chillingworth as the Devil in Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

525 Words3 Pages

Nathaniel Hawthorne crammed The Scarlet Letter with religious symbolism. One of the most interesting symbols is that of Chillingworth as the devil. All through the novel there are numerous indications and relations that verify the fact that Chillingworth is a delegate for the king of darkness.

One of the various ways Chillingworth serves as the devil’s advocate is by being the antithesis of Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale, the palpable Jesus figure of the narrative. Chillingworth keenly sets out to devastate Dimmesdale, as Hawthorne informs us when referring to Chillingworth's unearthing of Dimmesdale's secret, “All that guilty sorrow, hidden from the world, whose great heart would have pitied and forgiven, to be revealed to him, the…show more content…

He describes Chillingworth as malformed and stooped. He compares Chillingworth to weeds and portrays his business as resembling witchcraft. Chillingworth’s shady and sinister characteristics all portray him as the monarch of hell.
Nathaniel Hawthorne crammed The Scarlet Letter with religious symbolism. One of the most interesting symbols is that of Chillingworth as the devil. All through the novel there are numerous indications and relations that verify the fact that Chillingworth is a delegate for the king of darkness.

One of the various ways Chillingworth serves as the devil’s advocate is by being the antithesis of Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale, the palpable Jesus figure of the narrative. Chillingworth keenly sets out to devastate Dimmesdale, as Hawthorne informs us when referring to Chillingworth's unearthing of Dimmesdale's secret, “All that guilty sorrow, hidden from the world, whose great heart would have pitied and forgiven, to be revealed to him, the Pitiless, to him, the Unforgiving!” The capitalization of the words "Pitiless" and "Unforgiving" confirm that Chillingworth is Satan in human form. Symbolically, on an additional, more perceptible note, Chillingworth steals one of Dimmesdale's gloves and drops it on the scaffold in the middle of the town. The sexton returns it to Dimmesdale saying, "Satan dropped it there,” evidently pointing to the fact

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