Roger Chillingworth is a fictional character and primary antagonist in the novel The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Chillingworth, a doctor and student of alchemy, attempts to emigrate from England to Puritan Boston. He sends his wife ahead to set up in Boston, but he is delayed by problems at sea and then held captive by Indians. When he finally arrives in Boston, he finds his wife on a scaffold, being shamed for committing adultery.
Meeting Hester in jail, Chillingworth presses her to divulge the name of her partner in adultery, but she refuses. Searching without her help, he eventually discovers that her lover is the town minister, Arthur Dimmesdale.
Using his position as a doctor, and under the guise of treating Dimmesdale's unexplained sickness, Chillingworth manipulates Dimmesdale into insanity and a confession of sin before the entire community before dying. Chillingworth then also dies. Throughout the book Chillingworth is referred to as "The Leech", which was a term at the time for a doctor, and then he dies once he no longer has a victim to harm. Chillingworth was portrayed by Henry B. Walthall in Victor Seastrom 's film adaptationstarring Lillian Gish.
The Scarlet Letter
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LitCharts From the creators of SparkNotes, something better. Sign In Sign Up. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne.
Download this LitChart! Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Themes All Themes. Symbols All Symbols. Theme Wheel. The old scholar who Hester Prynne met and married before coming to Boston.
Chillingworth is a forbidding presence. Even his name reflects his haunting, ice-cold aura. Hester's relationship with Chillingworth, her actual husband, contrasts sharply with her relationship with Dimmesdaleher lover.
Chillingworth is an older man whom she married for reasons other than love. Dimmesdale is a beloved reverend with whom she had an affair out of love and irrepressible desire. Chillingworth recognizes this difference and punishes Hester and Dimmesdale covertly by tormenting Dimmesdale almost to the point of killing him.
Meanwhile, he hypocritically makes Hester swear not to reveal his true identity as her husband in order to avoid the humiliation of being associated with their scandalous affair. In the end, by tormenting Dimmesdale, Chillingworth transforms himself into a sick and twisted man, a kind of fiend. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:.
Chapter 3 Quotes. When he found the eyes of Hester Prynne fastened on his own, and saw that she appeared to recognize him, he slowly and calmly raised his finger, made a gesture with it in the air, and laid it on his lips. Related Themes: Sin. Page Number and Citation : 58 Cite this Quote. Explanation and Analysis:. Plus so much more Chapter 4 Quotes. He noticed her involuntary gesture, and smiled. And, that thou mayst live, take off this draught.
Related Symbols: Red and Black. Page Number and Citation : 69 Cite this Quote. Chapter 15 Quotes.The balance of the narrative takes place in the seven years following the public outcry over her crime and focuses mainly on her relationship with the revered town minister, Arthur Dimmesdale, and the newly-arrived physician, Roger Chillingworth.
As the book begins with Prynne having already committed her crime, there is no way to discern her character before becoming the town pariah, but following this change in relations, she settles into an independent and virtuous life in a cottage on the edge of town.
She dedicates herself to needle-pointing, and begins to produce work of remarkable quality. When Prynne catches wind of this, she appeals directly to the governor, showing how protective she is of her daughter. When these revelations have played out, Prynne decides that she wants not only to move back to Europe, but to do so with Dimmesdale, ridding herself of Chillingworth.
Even when the minister dies, she leaves Boston nonetheless, striking out on her own back in the Old World.
Curiously, she later decides to return to the New World, and even start once more wearing the scarlet letter, but there is little to suggest that at that point she is doing so out of shame; rather, she seems to do so out of reverence for humility and earnestness.
Dimmesdale is the young and highly respected Puritan minister in the colony. As a result, he feels racked with guilt, so much so that his health begins to deteriorate. When this happens, it is suggested that he take up residence with Roger Chillingworth, the newly arrived physician.
This inner turmoil leads him one night to wander to the scaffold in the town square, where he confronts the fact that he cannot bring himself to publicize his transgressions. This is in direct contrast to Prynne, who was forced to make this fact public in the most humiliating of ways. This is also antithetical to his very powerful public persona, in that he speaks before an audience every week, and is well known to all of them. At the end he does acknowledge the affair somewhat publicly and as something other than utterly sinful.
For the most part, though, Dimmesdale represents the interior, personal guilt felt by those who transgress laws and norms, as opposed to Prynne, who must bear the public, societal guilt. Prynne, however, does notice him, because he is her presumed-dead husband from England. He is much older than Prynne, and sent her off ahead of him to the New World, whereupon she had an affair with Dimmesdale.
They first reconnect when Prynne is in jail, after the shaming, because Chillingworth is a physician, a fact that he uses to gain access to her cell. While there, they discuss their marriage, and both acknowledge their own shortcomings. Chillingworth—as his name implies—is not usually so emotionally warm, though. Given his educated pedigree, Chillingworth begins to suspect that Dimmesdale has a guilty conscience, but he nonetheless struggles to figure out why.
This is an interesting moment, as the narrator compares Chillingworth to the Devil, further highlighting his lack of ability to connect with other people. He, too, dies shortly thereafter, but does leave a substantial inheritance to Pearl.Which detail from Heart of Darkness shows the ineffectiveness of the colonizers.
All Rights Reserved. The material on this site can not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with prior written permission of Multiply. Hottest Questions. Previously Viewed. Unanswered Questions. Death and Dying. Wiki User He wastes away after Dimmesdale's death. He no longer had a purpose in life, since his main goal was to get revenge on Dimmesdale. William Chillingworth died in Sonny Chillingworth died in Curtis Chillingworth died on Asked in Similarities Between What was the relationship between hester and chillingworth?
Hester an Chillingworth were married. William Chillingworth was born in David Chillingworth was born in Daniel Chillingworth was born in He died of an illness of the soul; he died of guilt and torture from Chillingworth. Chillingworth is a fictional character in the book, The Scarlet Letter. When Chillingworth died, he left all of his money and belongs to Pearl. Asked in The Scarlet Letter What effect does Hester's information about chillingworth have on dimmesdale?
Dimmesdale realizes Chillingworth is not the friend he thought he was. He decides to dismiss Chillingworth later on and not take in his remedies. Hester basically told him that Chillingworth is her husband and he's out to discover his secret. Asked in Books and Literature What does Chillingworth vow to do? Roger Chillingworth vowed he would have revenge on Hester Prynne.
Roger Chillingworth was Hester's husband. Curtis Chillingworth was born on Nicole Chillingworth was born on Chillingworth says that Dimmesdale has made things worse by forcing Chillingworth to become a vindictive monster.
Asked in The Scarlet Letter What does roger chillingworth personify in the scarlett letter? Roger Chillingworth personifies an obsession with vengeance. Janet Chillingworth has written: 'My child you are-- a gift from God'. Asked in The Scarlet Letter Where does hester meet up with chillingworth?
I know not! Yea; so we may both die, and little Pearl die with us! Uh, we're going to go with no. No, it is not better for all three of them to die at the scaffold rather than run off and start a new life in England.
But to Dimmesdale, it actually is better. Poor man. In a moment, however, wisely judging that one token of her shame would but poorly serve to hide another, she took the baby on her arm, and, with a burning blush, and yet a haughty smile, and a glance that would not be abashed, looked around at her townspeople and neighbours. On the breast of her gown, in fine red cloth, surrounded with an elaborate embroidery and fantastic flourishes of gold thread, appeared the letter A.
Hester accepts her community's blame—but she's going to let it get her down. In other words, doesn't have to ruin your life; it can maybe even redeem it. Try telling that to your parents next time you break curfew.
Dimmesdale practically begs Hester to place the blame where it belongs on himbut she refuses.
When the whole community is frothing at the mouth to shame someone else, why does she protect Dimmesdale? Calm, gentle, passionless, as he appeared, there was yet, we fear, a quiet depth of malice, hitherto latent, but active now, in this unfortunate old man, which led him to imagine a more intimate revenge than any mortal had ever wreaked upon an enemy. To make himself the one trusted friend, to whom should be confided all the fear, the remorse, the agony, the ineffectual repentance, the backward rush of sinful thoughts, expelled in vain!
All that guilty sorrow, hidden from the world, whose great heart would have pitied and forgiven, to be revealed to him, the Pitiless, to him, the Unforgiving! All that dark treasure to be lavished on the very man, to whom nothing else could so adequately pay the debt of vengeance! Anyone else get goosebumps? Look at the way guilt is described: as a "dark treasure" to be "lavished" on someone. If you ask us, that's a little sick. To his features, as to all other objects, the meteoric light imparted a new expression; or it might well be that the physician was not careful then, as at all other times, to hide the malevolence with which he looked upon his victim.
Bathed in a maybe-supernatural light, Dimmesdale's guilt is momentarily lifted, while Chillingworth just looks plain guilty. And evil. The moment that he did so, there came what seemed a tumultuous rush of new life, other life than his own, pouring like a torrent into his heart, and hurrying through all his veins, as if the mother and the child were communicating their vital warmth to his half-torpid system.
The three formed an electric chain. Time for a momentary sigh of relief here as we watch Dimmesdale make this fake confession, invigorated by the idea of telling the truth of his relationship with Hester.
The word "electric" strikes us as pretty fancy and somehow important. Why do you think the narrator describes the trio as an "electric chain?
Poor, miserable man! Crime is for the iron-nerved, who have their choice either to endure it, or, if it press too hard, to exert their fierce and savage strength for a good purpose, and fling it off at once!
In other words, if you feel guilty every time you steal a paperclip from the supply closet, then a life of crime is probably not for you. She had wandered, without rule or guidance, in a moral wilderness; as vast, as intricate and shadowy, as the untamed forest, amid the gloom of which they were now holding a colloquy that was to decide their fate.
Living with her guilt for seven years has taught Hester a thing or two about life—like, if your community just wants to blame you, maybe they don't have all the answers.
Coincidentally, at this moment we see Hester in the middle of a literal forest as well as a metaphorical one.The Reverend Dimmesdale represents a weak man who sins but fails to accept public condemnation for his sin. His subsequent hypocrisy, however, eats away at him until his health fails.Birth Of A Norman
Recognizing that death is imminent, he chooses to purify his soul at the last minute by confessing his sin publicly and revealing the scarlet letter A that has appeared on his chest over his heart. The symbol on his skin suggests that, though we may hide our sins as best we can, they will always surface and be revealed. Now that Dimmesdale is dead, he no longer has a purpose in life. Dimmesdale dies on the scaffold or whatever its called.
I loved the book though lol. The Scarlet Letter is a novel written by, and is considered the magnum opus of, Nathaniel Hawthorne. Set in 17th-century Puritan Boston, it tells the story of Hester Prynne, who gives birth after committing adultery and struggles to create a new life of repentance and dignity. Throughout the novel, Hawthorne explores themes of legalism, sin, and guilt.
The day before the ship is to sail, the townspeople gather for a holiday and Dimmesdale preaches his most eloquent sermon ever. Meanwhile, Hester has learned that Chillingworth knows of their plan and has booked passage on the same ship. Dimmesdale, leaving the church after his sermon, sees Hester and Pearl standing before the town scaffold. He impulsively mounts the scaffold with his lover and his daughter, and confesses publicly, exposing the mark supposedly seared into the flesh of his chest.
He falls dead just after Pearl kisses him. Frustrated in his revenge, Chillingworth dies a year later. Ugh, I hate that book with a passion. I had to read it in 11th grade, and I hated every word of it. Sorry, I know you didn't ask what I thought of the book, but whatever. Please tell me. Answer Save. Favorite Answer. The Scarlet Letter Chillingworth. Chillingworth Scarlet Letter.
How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer. Doesn't Dimmesdale die of depression or something? Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.Jemshed A. Certainly, Chillingworth was "a man of skill in all Christian modes of physical science" Hawthorne 65 and was very knowledgeable about medicinal roots and herbs Hawthorne Undoubtedly, he could have been aware of how to poison Dimmesdale slowly.
Although Khan"s line of conjecture is somewhat persuasive and seemingly well supported, it does not hold up under intense examination. There is much support in The Scarlet Letter to prove that Dimmesdale did not die from atropine. The main point of Dr. Kahn"s article is to prove that Chillingwrorth wanted to kill Dimmesdale through the use of atropine poisoning, but there are many parts in the novel that suggest Chillingworth wanted to keep Dimmesdale alive to suffer through his own guilt.
Evidence exists very early in the novel that deems Dr. Kahn"s theory untrue. During Chillingworth and Hester"s talk about who had wronged whom. Chillingworth says ". I shall contrive aught against his life. Speaking of Dimmesdale, Chillingworth goes on to say, ". This passage alone shows that Chillingworth did not want to kill Dimmesdale, but would rather let him suffer through what he had done because after all he was suppose to be the epitome of puritan society and Chillingworth knew he would be grieving because of this.
Another part in the novel that supports the idea that Chillingworth. Hawthorne says that Chillingworth, being a man of skill, dove into the intellect of Dimmesdale looking for secrets and precious thoughts that might help him in the magnification of Dimmesdale"s guilt Continue reading this essay Continue reading.
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