The Evil Characters in The Scarlet Letter Essays

The Evil Characters in The Scarlet Letter Essays

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The Scarlet Letter, a book of sin and guilt, reveals two
characters that are so purely evil, that it is hard to believe
that such characters could be created---Roger Chillingworth and
Mistress Hibbins. Chillingworth and Hibbins may seem like good
people, but they really just symbolize evil.
Roger Chillingworth is the elderly husband of Hester
Prynne, who is shunned by the whole colony of Boston
Massachusetts for the sin of adultery she has committed with the
town’s praised minister. The people of the colony see
Chillingworth as a friendly physician who was sent by God to
return people like Arthur Dimmesdale, the town’s praised
minister, back to health. However, as the book goes on he is
known as something entirely different. Chillingworth is a person
who is driven by vengeance and is determined to find out who the
father of Hester’s daughter is. A particular scene reveals this,
as Chillingworth attempts to give Hester a prescription to help
her sleep and Hester accuses him of trying to kill her, “Dost
thou know me so little, Hester Prynne? Are my purpose wont to be
so shallow? Even if I imagine scheme of vengeance, what could I
do better for my object than to let thee live?” (Hawthorne p.
50) Chillingworth is saying that because of Hester’s sin, she is
shunned by everyone and that the shame will remain with her and
haunt her for the rest of her life. Everyday of her life is full
of suffering and Chillingworth wants her to live so she can
suffer in the worst way possible and that is to let her live. In
addition, Chillingworth says, “I shall feel myself shudder,
suddenly ad unawares. Sooner or later, he must needs be
mine!” (p. 52) His drive of revenge is so powerful that the soul
of Hester’s lover, will be his forever. In the same ...

... middle of paper ...

...ymbolize “The Black Man.” Chillingworth isn’t the only one
that has an evil spirit. Mistress Hibbins is known for riding
with “The Black Man” in the forest on a horse because of her
sinister ways---the ways of a witch. Both Mistress Hibbins and
Chillingworth were expected to be good people, yet they turned
out to be the most hideous characters of The Scarlet Letter.
Though the appearance of Roger Chillingworth started out as the
kind and friendly physician, he was so purely evil and driven by
revenge that it twisted his mind into something horrible. Though
Mistress Hibbins was the sister of such an important person who
loved God, she was basically the wicked witch of “The Black
Man.” Therefore, people aren’t always what they seem and though
the people around them are righteous, it doesn’t mean that they
will be.

Works Cited

The Scarlet Letter - Nathaniel Hawthorne

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