Roger Chillingworth's true identity
The Scarlet Letter
The Sins of Chillingworth made him suffer all his life. Everyone knew Old Roger Chillingworth as an honorable doctor and an alchemist, but no one knew he was a jealous, unsecured, and a sinful person. When he came home one day, he saw Hester wearing the Scarlet Letter around on her breast, and he asked who the person she had an affair with was. When she didn't answered him, he got angry and threatened to do his best to make the person suffer.
There are many interpretations of the word “suffering.” People believe it is physical pain, like burn, disease, or disability. There is another form of suffering in the world, emotional suffering. When a person you love dies, you don’t show signs that you are suffering, except for crying. However, it changes your understanding of suffering. You start to understand the pain of people, you feel what they feel, and see what they see. In the play The Scarlet Letter, Chillingworth suffers emotionally, he loses his wife and his daughter.
Roger Chillingworth, is a doctor and an alchemist, and Hester's husband. He wanted to have Hester all to himself, but Hester cheated on him. When he asked her who she was with, she doesn't answer him, so he gets furious, and threatens and leaves her to live with the sin she committed, which was adultery, “Live, therefore, and bear about my doom with thee” (26) hoping she will answer his questions. When he finally found out who the person Hester was with, Dimmesdale. When he brought new herbs –dark, ugly, dead– he found near a grave stone Dimmesdale asked him where he gathered them; Chillingworth's goal was to make Dimmesdale admit he was with Hester, so he made them as a symbol of a secret. “I found them growing on a grave, which bore no tombstone, nor other memorial of the dead man... [t]hey grew out of his heart, and typify, it may be, some hideous secret that was buried with him” (83). Hester saw Chillingworth as a jealous, and retaliated person. “I have thought of death…. Yet, if death be in this cup, I bid thee think again, ere thou beholdest me quaff it” (25). She was afraid of Chillingworth, because she knew she cheated on him, but she didn’t know what he will do to her. Because of Chillingworth’s threats to Hester, and Dimmesdale, she started to ignore him.
When he came back to Hester, he made him look like unworthy before her, and tells her everything she did was his fault, “it was my folly! …My heart was a habitation large enough for many guests, but lonely and chill, and without a household fire” (27). Even though Chillingworth loved Hester with all his heart, Hester didn't. When Chillingworth tried to make it up to Hester by promising her to spend more time with her, she doesn’t believe him, and ignores him. However, he doesn't give up so easily on her, “No matter whether of love or hate... Thou and thine, Hester Prynne, belongs to me. My home is where thou art, and where he is” (29). He cannot let go of Hester and Pearl because he knows he is the father, yet Hester doesn't wants him in her life. If Chillingworth won’t get Hester back from Dimmesdale, a rich, and beautiful person, he knows he won’t live long without her.
Although Chillingworth was unsecured, and jealous, he was much worse than that. He was sinful person, he wanted Dimmesdale to suffer for the rest of his life. When Dimmesdale went to sleep one night, Chillingworth opened his shirt, and saw the scarlet letter on his chest. “But, with what a wild look of wonder, and horror!... Had a man seen Old Roger Chilingworth, at that moment of his ecstasy, he would have had no need to ask how Satan comports himself when a precious human soul is lost to heaven and won into his kingdom”(90). When Dimmesdale was about to die on the scaffold, Chillingworth accused him of holding a secret so big, the same as Hester's, the scarlet letter. Chillingworth was happy to see Dimmesdale suffer, and he yelled out things about him. “Hadst thou sought the whole earth over,” said he, looking darkly at the clergyman, “there was no one place so secret, – no high place nor lowly place, where thou couldst have escaped me, – save on this very scaffold!”(208). When Dimmesdale died, Chillingwoth’s reputation suddenly dropped, no one liked him anymore, including Hester and Pearl.
“While thus suffering under bodily disease… the Revered Mr. Dimesdale had achieved a brilliant popularity in his sacred office…. His intellectual gifts, his moral perceptions, his power of experiencing and communicating emotions, were kept in a state of preternatural activity by the prick and anguish of his daily life” (93). Chillingworth wanted Dimmesdale to suffer, but he made him even a better person. He failed at his goal in life, and suffered instead. At the end of The Scarlet Letter everyone found out the true identity –unsecured, jealous, and sinful– of old Roger Chillingworth. “All his strength and energy –all his vital and intellectual force– seemed at once to desert him” (215). He lost all his power, his respect, and his knowledge. He lost his reputation, his job, and most importantly, what he’s goal was, his family.
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