Free College Essays - The Greatest Sinner in Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

Free College Essays - The Greatest Sinner in Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

Length: 521 words (1.5 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
The Scarlet Letter - Chillingworth and the Greatest Sin


When asked to describe Roger Chillingworth, peers say he was an upstanding, respectful, concerned citizen. They would have been right, but he didn’t let anyone know just how much he cared. With the loss of Hester, he became filled with anger and jealousy and eventually let his emotions overtake him. At the close of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, the malevolent state of Roger Chillingworth’s heart made him the guiltiest.

Throughout the entire novel, every character except for Roger Chillingworth learned to forgive and cleared his or her heart of guilt. When the reverend showed his concern for the doctor just before his death he said, “may God forgive thee. Thou hast deeply sinned” (251). For example, Dimmesdale used some of his last words to forgive the doctor of his wrongdoing. Even though Chillingworth tortured and haunted him until the very end of his life, the reverend had strong enough character to want God to show mercy on the evildoer’s soul. Moreover, Dimmesdale was able to forgive Hester when he told her, “I do forgive you Hester” (191). Because of his high position of authority, Dimmesdale set high standards for his life, and that reflected in the way he handled personal relationships. Also, if Chillingworth had been more understanding towards Hester’s problem, he had a better chance at winning her love back. Finally, both Hester and her lover admitted their sin on the scaffold and sought forgiveness for their transgressions while Chillingworth never could admit he sinned.

Secondly, Chillingworth’s actions were motivated by hate and a lust for revenge that overpowered him in the end. Therefore an awful change must have taken place in the doctor since “human nature loves more readily than it hates” (156). The actions of Hester, Dimmesdale, and Chillingworth were all motivated by a deep passion for one thing or another. However, the difference in their actions was that the adulteress and the minister acted out of love for each other while her husband acted out of anger and jealousy. Also, the physician underwent such a change that “there came a glare of red light out of his eyes; as if the old man’s soul were on fire, and kept smoldering duskily within his breast” (166). Eventually Chillingworth’s heart became so twisted and contorted that there were very noticeable differences in his personality.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Free College Essays - The Greatest Sinner in Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter." 123HelpMe.com. 23 Jan 2020
    <https://www.123helpme.com/view.asp?id=3120>.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Free College Essays - Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter - Only God Should Judge

- The Scarlet Letter: Only God Should Judge In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s classic novel The Scarlet Letter many moral issues come to mind. For one, the book is about an adulteress trying to live her life in an old Puritan town. This is especially hard since the man who has committed this sin with her, known as Arthur Dimmesdale, refuses to confess his part in her crime. The town has many convictions of whom or what Hester is which makes it impossible for Hester to live a happy normal life. The thoughts on adultery were not very good at the time of the puritans....   [tags: Scarlet Letter essays]

Free Essays
911 words (2.6 pages)

Free College Essays - The Results of Sin in Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

- The Scarlet Letter -  Inevitable Results of Sin There are many ways to interpret literature.  Nathaniel Hawthorne is considered a very influential writer of the American Transcendentalist era; his writing deals a lot with the Puritan times, including his famous novel, The Scarlet Letter.  The Scarlet Letter deals with the adulterous sin of Hester Prynne and Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale, the vengeance of Roger Chillingsworth, and the townspeople's attitude towards Hester and her daughter Pearl.  Sin can be categorized many ways, but most importantly, one should remember that bad things always develop from sin.  The fact that Hester and the minister sinned led to the townspeople looking down...   [tags: Scarlet Letter essays]

Free Essays
429 words (1.2 pages)

Free College Essays - The Virtue of Truth in Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

- The Scarlet Letter - The Virtue of Truth The virtue of truth and the evil of secret sin are clearly illustrated in the novel, The Scarlet Letter, written by Nathaniel Hawthorne. The three main characters in this novel display their own honesty and sins. Hester Prynne exhibits the essence of truth and pride when she bravely faces the humiliation of the scaffold. In chapter 17, when Hester apologizes to Dimmesdale about concealing Chillingworth’s identity, she says, “In all things else, I have striven to be true....   [tags: Scarlet Letter essays]

Free Essays
566 words (1.6 pages)

Free College Essays - Tolerance of Sin in Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

- The Scarlet Letter   Tolerance of Sin The Scarlet Letter       There are changes occurring in our society constantly, in many different ways. We witness these changes through religion, politics, and family. In the novel The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, a Puritan woman named Hester Prynne is sentenced and ridiculed for committing the sin of adultery.  The situation with Hester in this novel is not relevant to today’s society because of the acceptance and tolerance of sin in contrast to the Puritan times....   [tags: Scarlet Letter essays]

Free Essays
688 words (2 pages)

Free College Essays - Hidden Sin in Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

- The Scarlet Letter: Hidden Sin People often keep secrets in an effort to hide their sins from others. This is a risky since secrets have a way of manifesting themselves externally, and thus, letting everyone know of their owner’s sins. Hidden sin is a prominent theme in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s, The Scarlet Letter. Names like Chillingworth and Dimmesdale let the reader know how, in reality, these characters are, before ever really encountering them. Characters whom the reader will encounter in this novel are going through some type of dilemma on the inside, which begins to show itself in the exterior of the particular individual....   [tags: Scarlet Letter essays]

Free Essays
1259 words (3.6 pages)

Free College Essays - Response Essay to Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

- Response to The Scarlet Letter "Confess thy truth and thou shall have eternal rest." I belive that is the moral to be taught in this novel of inspirational love, yet a novel of much sorrow. The impossible became possible in The Scarlet Letter, a story set back in the Puritan Times. In this response, I will give my reactions in writing to different aspects of the novel;the characchters, my likes and dislikes, my questions, and my opinion of the harsh Puritain lifestyle. Hester Prynne, the Reverend Dimmesdale, and Roger Chillingworth each suffered guilt in their own way in the novel The Scarlet Letter....   [tags: Scarlet Letter essays]

Free Essays
643 words (1.8 pages)

Free College Essays - Tone, Allusions and Diction in Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

- The Scarlet Letter - Use of Tone, Allusions and Diction Puritans are well known for their morality in discipline, religious intolerance, and harsh punishments for those defying their beliefs. These Puritan influences had a great impact on early American literature. Nathaniel Hawthorne provides an illustrated look into the Puritans and their community in his classic The Scarlet Letter. Through Hawthorne's use of tone, allusions with Hester and Dimmesdale, and the diction that is used to describe how the village behaves during the multiple scaffold scenes he provides a disapproval for these rigid moralists' extreme way of life....   [tags: Scarlet Letter essays]

Free Essays
509 words (1.5 pages)

Free College Essays - The Character of Hester Prynne in Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

- The Character of Hester Prynne of The Scarlet Letter    Hester Prynne is a very well recognized character in The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne.  She is a character about whom much has been written such as, Toward Hester Prynn, by David Reynolds, and The Scarlet A, Aboriginal and Awesome, by Kristin Herzog.  Reynold's essay dealt with Hester as a heroine, who is an artistic combination of disparate female types.  Herzog's essay dealt with the idea that Hester is both wild and passionate, as well as, caring, conservative, and alien....   [tags: Scarlet Letter essays]

Free Essays
686 words (2 pages)

Free College Essays - Hester as Role Model in Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

- The Scarlet Letter – Hester as Community Role Model “Woman, it is thy badge of shame!" (107). Governor Bellingham was describing the scarlet letter to Hester while they were discussing if the punishments that Hester had to go through were adequate enough for the crime. Hester was living in the outskirts of the city in a small abandoned cottage for several years with the only thing that had any monetary value in her life, her child and the product of committing adultery, Pearl. She and her little Pearl were shunned from the community for her acts....   [tags: Scarlet Letter essays]

Free Essays
637 words (1.8 pages)

Free College Essays - Symbols of Her Crime in Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

- The Scarlet Letter - Two Symbols of Her Crime “It lies not in the pleasure of the magistrates to take off this badge,” calmly replied Hester. “Were I worthy to be quit of it, it would fall away of its own nature, or be transformed into something that should speak a different purport.” (163) Hester Prynne, the central character in the Scarlet Letter, realizes and accepts the consequences of the adulterous act she committed against her husband, Roger Chillingworth, as Hawthorne shows in this quotation....   [tags: Scarlet Letter essays]

Free Essays
556 words (1.6 pages)

Related Searches

In this case, guilt is not determined by actions, but by the state of the heart committing them, and Roger Chillingworth possessed greater evil than Hester and Dimmesdale. With all this in mind, the torturer’s suffering was greater than the other two main characters, so if he had accepted everything and moved on, everyone would have been spared the trouble.

Each character created the situations they were put into. However, some chose to benefit from it. Hester’s trials gave her insight, compassion, and made her a good mother. Dimmesdale never stopped trying to please and honor his God throughout the whole ordeal. Knowing when sin happens and being able to come out of situations even stronger are two of the lessons taught by The Scarlet Letter.
Return to 123HelpMe.com