The Scarlet Letter - Roger Chi

The Scarlet Letter - Roger Chi

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Imagine a man having insecurities of his own, with a somewhat deformed and
unpretentious appearance, finding that his spouse had betrayed him. For Roger
Chillingworth, it was a completely heart-breaking devastation. In The Scarlet
Letter, Chillingworth is the husband of Hester Prynne. When they married, he
knew that she didn't love him, but still proceeded to commit the rest of his life to her. Consequently, a story of forbidden passion, hatred, and jealousy unfolds.
Starting off as a scholar, Roger Chillingworth finds himself in a doctor's
position later in the book. His back is deformed, and one shoulder is higher than the other, giving him a hunchbacked appearance. Chillingworth is not physically attractive and very slender. His eyes have a 'strong, penetrating power,'; (Chpt. 10, p. 157) and he is a loner. 'Old Roger Chillingworth, throughout life, had been calm in temperament, kindly, though not of warm affections, but ever, and in all his relations with the world, a pure and upright man.'; (p. 157, Chpt. 10) He enjoys studying and the pursuit of knowledge.
     When Chillingworth finds out that Hester cheated on him, he cannot be
blamed for being dismayed and livid. He feels betrayed, and calls Hester's sin
unpardonable. His rage quickly becomes resentment, and he develops a strong
desire to find out with whom Hester had an affair with. Chillingworth seeks
nothing but revenge. When Arthur Dimmesdale defends Hester and her actions,
Chillingworth begins his suspicion.
     Chillingworth quickly becomes determined to withdraw the truth from
Dimmesdale, who in fact was the man for whom Hester had betrayed him. The
spite Chillingworth feels towards Dimmesdale grows stronger as his suspicion
about Hester and Dimmesdale seems more and more likely. Chillingworth plans
his vengeance during all of his waking hours. He becomes close to Dimmesdale,
hoping maybe he would get a confession, but it didn't happen. The two soon lived together, while Chillingworth still prodded. From then on, Dimmesdale's life became miserable. 'Roger Chillingworth's aspect had undergone a remarkable
change while he had dwelt in town, and especially since his abode with Mr.
Dimmesdale. At first his expression had been calm, meditative, and scholar-like. "Now, there was something ugly and evil in his face, which they [people of the town] had not previously noticed, and which grew still the more obvious to sight the oftener they looked upon him.'; (Chpt. 9, p. 155) While pretending to be Dimmesdale's trusted confidant and physician, Chillingworth is actually slaying him by means of medicine and mental torture.

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Dimmesdale instantly becomes weak, not yet aware that Chillingworth is causing his affliction. Slowly, Chillingworth draws Dimmesdale under his power.
In The Scarlet Letter, Roger Chillingworth is an antagonist. His intentions are purely evil, and his motives are selfish. He is certainly not a man of good moral character. The words that come from his mouth are cunning and deceiving, especially when he lured Dimmesdale into a friendship. Chillingworth gains the respect and admiration of the Puritan community because of his feigned willingness to help the well-respected Dimmesdale.
     Chillingworth is greatly concerned about his reputation, as shown when he makes Hester promise not to reveal him as her husband by threatening to harm
Dimmesdale if she told anyone. Although he implies that Dimmesdale was the
one at fault, Hester feels as if he is placing the blame on her. Dimmesdale
declares that by treating him and Hester the way that he did, Chillingworth
violated the sanctity of the human heart.
     In conclusion, Roger Chillingworth was a very emotionally disturbed man.
His seething anger caused a drastically negative change in his personality. Despite his apparently upstanding status as a scholar, he was a truly awful human being. Through his desire for revenge, he disturbed the lives of many characters in the story. The actions of Chillingworth against Dimmesdale and Hester caused both of them much grief. The evil and cruel psychological torture which he inflicted on Dimmesdale show how much his anger and contempt over Hesters' actions affected him. Roger Chillingworth was a truly despicable man.
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