Scarlet Letter

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The Scarlet Letter Essay Part I “In a word, old Roger Chillingworth was a striking evidence of man’s faculty of transforming himself into a devil, if he will only, for a reasonable space of time, undertake a devil’s office. This unhappy person had effected such a transformation, by devoting himself, for seven years, to the constant analysis of a heart full of torture, and deriving his enjoyment thence, and adding fuel to those fiery tortures which he analyzed and gloated over” (337). Roger Chillingworth’s inability to control his emotions leads to his futile quest for revenge towards Dimmesdale. With no emotional or self control, his revenge consumes him, and eventually outweighs all of his other sympathies. This leads to his ultimate deterioration. In the end, his quest fails as he is unsuccessful in avenging Dimmesdale. At this point, he no longer has anything to live for, and in turn, is faced with his own demise from the perpetuity of his obstinate yearning for retaliation. Although the story is centered on Hester and Pearl, Chillingworth is revealed as the one controlling the actions, supplementing the story in his dark presence. Chillingworth’s introduction in the novel is one of peculiarity: “...clad in a strange disarray of civilized and savaged costume” (115). This is the first clue to Chillingworth’s attributes, at the mentioning of “savaged”, denoting his character. His physical presence has a great effect on your first perceptions of this twisted character as well. “...one of this man’s shoulders rose higher than the other. Again, at the first instance of perceiving that thin visage, and the slight deformity of the figure...his look became keen and penetrative. A writhing horror twisted itself across his features, like a snake gliding swiftly over them, and making one little pause, with all of its wreathed intervolutions in open sight” (115-17).

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