The Scarlet Letter: What Is Evil?

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In The Scarlet Letter evil is portrayed in many ways. A woman and her child are forced to live in shame because of two men’s indecencies. While most people in that time believed the way a Puritan should, others were more rebellious. Roger Chillingworth and Arthur Dimmesdale, both considerably older men, express evil all throughout the story. Chillingworth, a man of age and wisdom, has a dark side that many don’t see. His shoulders are hunched and deformed making him look almost as evil as he actually was. He refuses to admit to be married to Hester because he wants to get his revenge in silence. “Sooner or later, he must needs be mine,” is Chillingworth’s way of saying that he is committing his life to finding this man and killing him. He sat in jail with Hester and made her promise to keep their marriage a secret. There was nothing he wanted more than to see this man dead. “In a word, old Roger Chillingworth was a striking evidence of man’s faculty of transforming himself into a devil.” Dimmesdale, a man looked at with much respect by the townspeople, asserts his evil in many forms. He watches the woman he loves and his daughter live in shame and does nothing to help, which shows “the portion of him which the devil claimed, and through which he sought to win the rest.” Dimmesdale was the town minister who was supposed to represent the good things God gives us. But, he was said to be a servant of the “Black Man.” He watched Hester stand on the scaffold holding their child, with a scarlet letter embroidered on her clothing for all to see, alone. He was too cowardly to stand up and say “Yes, that’s my child, and I am just as guilty as she is.” In the eyes of a Puritan, the devil is the only thing that could keep you from confessing your sins. Evil doesn’t always come with age, but in these circumstances it seems to be unavoidable. Dimmesdale finally comes to the

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