Morally Ambiguous Characters in The Scarlet Letter

In Nathanial Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, the deceptive Roger Chillingworth could most certainly be considered a morally ambiguous character. Throughout the novel, Roger Chillingworth everlastingly remains misleading as to whether he lies on the side of good or evil. Even at the end of The Scarlet Letter, the knowledge of Roger Chillingworth is extremely nebulous. The mysterious Roger Chillingworth, although ultimately emanating to be evil, attests to be a challenge when determining his morality. Roger Chillingworth attempts to beguile us by enacting the role of a physician, and ensconces his relationship with Hester Prynne. He lives with Arthur Dimmesdale, vindicating that he is serving Arthur Dimmesdale a helpful medicine, while he is actually depleting the very life from his bones. Roger Chillingworth, therefore, achieves his moral ambiguity through deception, cleverness, and an unknown history.

Roger Chillingworth utilizes his deceptiveness in a number of occasions throughout the novel. For example, in chapter three, Roger Chillingworth innocently approaches Hester Prynne, acting as if he has never once seen her. Roger Chillingworth even interrogates a local townsman about Hester Prynne and her committed sins. This shows that Roger Chillingworth purposely intends to concept a deceptive knowledge of his character in order to disconcert one who may read The Scarlet Letter. Although Roger Chllingworth is the foremost antagonist of the novel, his deceptiveness empowers him to withhold an excessive amount of moral ambiguity. With this moral ambiguity, Roger Chillingworth is able to surreptitiously accomplish a various amount of things, including the death of Arthur Dimmesdale himself.

Roger Chillingworth’s cleve...

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...ment the moral ambiguity of his character.

Roger Chillingworth could be considered a morally ambiguous character because of his deceptivenss, cleverness, and nebulous past. It is with these three elements that Roger Chillingworth’s moral ambiguity is significant to the work as a whole. Straightforwardly, all of the characters in The Scarlet Letter also could be considered to comprise some degree of moral ambiguity. Arthur Dimmesdale, for example, is morally ambiguous because of his exertion to ensconce his identity as the father of Pearl. Moral ambiguity is emphatically significant in The Scarlet Letter because not only does it act as an attribute for characters, but is an extensive theme in The Scarlet Letter as well. Therefore, moral ambiguity is not only extant in Roger Chillingworth, but very much rather in all of The Scarlet Letter.
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