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Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

Thus, whereas Dimmesdale and Hester may perhaps eventually be redeemed for their sins in the eyes of God, for Chillingworth, there is "no cessation in prospect since he has broken both the natural ties that bind and the natural barriers that separate men" (Hoffman 349).

Chillingworth can also be considered the epitome of sin in that Hawthorne treats him as a symbol for evil in The Scarlet Letter. Because he is unable to win Hester's love for himself, Chillingworth is filled with hatred when he realizes that Dimmesdale has succeeded where he has failed. This acknowledgement drives Chillingworth to become the very personification of evil. Thus, "like envious Satan, observing the love of Adam and Eve in the Garden, 'Imparadised in one another's arms,' he was 'stirred up with envy and revenge"' (Abel 209). Instead of assimilating his anger and getting on with his life, Chillingworth allows his desire for revenge to become a sinful obsession. It is clear that Chillingworth could have chosen to accept the changes that had taken place in his marriage. He could have reclaimed Hester or simply moved on to a new way of life. Instead of following a more reasonable course, however, Chillingworth allows himself to develop a "diabolical possession" which "became a fatal sin when he nourished it, like Blake's Poison Tree, and made it the settled disposition of his ex


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Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 21:29, October 24, 2014, from
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