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In his exposition, Chillingworth, a learned man justly demanded that his wife’s fellow sinner “will be known! – he will be known! – he will be known!” (61). This was no doubt a perfectly normal response for a man, who after being in the company of Native Americans for over three years, happen to come to the right place at the right moment to see his wife on the scaffold, humiliated by the overbearing sin of adultery. In his conversation with Hester in jail, Chillingworth made it clear that he did not intend to harm neither Hester nor Pearl. Instead, like a true man, he claims that because of “[his] folly, and [her] weakness” (71), she had to “ascend to the pedestal of infamy” (71). He contended that had he been a more caring husband, and not devoted his youth to books and the pursuit of wisdom, such an incident would had never occurred. In the ensuing exchange of dialogue, Hawthorne impressed upon the reader that Chillingworth was a just and noble man, admitting partial responsibility for Hester’s sin. The medicine he gave Pearl was “potent for good; and were it [his] child – yea, [his] own, as well as thine! – [he] could do no better for it” (69) demonstrated his courteous manner, since if he was evil, he would not have given any second thought to killing the bastard child. His intentions of extracting revenge on the man “who has wronged [them] both” (72) was clear, and indicated his desire to reclaim the honor of a cuckold. These dialogues marked the beginning of Chillingworth’s descent to infamy.
After he had settled in town for three years as the resident physician, Chillingworth had no doubt been vigilant in his search for Pearl’s father.
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As shown by Chillingworth’s transformation from a leaned man to a vengeful demon, Hawthorn demonstrates that revenge is not only detrimental, but also fuels an insatiable desire to punish the wrongdoer. Hawthorn thus condemns people from extracting revenge, and suggests, in accordance with Puritan belief, that retribution is best left to God.