The Scarlet Letter Essay Essay Research Paper — страница 2

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Roger Chillingworth that, in the time when her heart knew no better, he had persuaded her to fancy herself happy by his side (184). Before he even moved in with Dimmesdale, Chillingworth had already committed a sin. He persuaded Hester to marry him, presumably because she was young and pretty. In God s eyes Chillingworth is a double-sinner, because Chillingworth also has the sin of tormenting Dimmesdale and violating his soul. Dimmesdale tells Hester, There is one worse than even the polluted priest! [Chillingworth s] revenge has been blacker than my sin. He has violated, in cold blood, the sanctity of a human heart (205). Chillingworth is a bigger sinner than Dimmesdale because Chillingworth violated another person s inner thoughts and private beliefs, and attempted to make him

suffer for his actions. Hester s sin of adultery is relatively mild compared to Chillingworth s sins. Dimmesdale s primary sin is his concealment of his adulterous relationship with Hester, but Dimmesdale tortures himself over this and is also tortured by Chillingworth. He doesn t violate anyone else. At the end of the novel, Chillingworth s punishment is decidedly more deadly than anyone else s. Chillingworth is forced to rot away and die a painful death. Hawthorne writes, Nothing was more remarkable than the change which took place in the appearance and demeanor of the old man known as Roger Chillingworth This unhappy man had made the very principle of his life to consist in the pursuit and systematic exercise of revenge when there was no more Devil s work on earth for him to

do, it only remained for the unhumanized mortal to betake himself whither his Master would find him tasks enough, and pay him his wages duly (272). Chillingworth is so sinful, he is considered a soldier of the Devil. By the end, Chillingworth is unloved and had no purpose in life, because Dimmesdale s death ended Chillingworth s torture of the man. Chillingworth is pathetic and deteriorating; God punished the biggest sinner by hurting him the most. Arthur Dimmesdale commits two sins, but he is never punished by his society; rather, he is placed on the highest pedestal and praised as the ideal man. God, however, punishes Dimmesdale severely. He allows Chillingworth to torture Dimmesdale. Dimmesdale knows he is a sinner for committing adultery and not telling anyone about it, which

is why he tortures himself. In Dimmesdale s closet there was a bloody scourge. Oftentimes, this Protestant and Puritan divine had plied it on his own shoulders; laughing bitterly at himself the while, and smiting so much because of that bitter laugh (150). Dimmesdale sees the hypocrisy of continuing to serve God despite his inability to confess his adultery with Hester. Society is not able to impose a punishment upon Dimmesdale, so Dimmesdale physically abuses himself. This is not a punishment from God though. God punishes Dimmesdale by allowing Chillingworth to torment him. With his dying breath, Dimmesdale says, [God] hath proved his mercy by giving me this burning torture to bear upon my breast! By sending yonder dark and terrible old man, to keep the torture always at red

heat! (269). Dimmesdale s burning torture is basically his part in Hester s adultery, and his inability to confess his sin with Hester. The dark and terrible old man, Chillingworth, tortured Dimmesdale by keeping him constantly aware of his sins and his failings, and reminding him that the townspeople regard Dimmesdale as perfect even though he is far from it. Dimmesdale endures the persecution for longer than seven years before he is able to confess. Upon his confession and last words, Dimmesdale dies. This is actually God s mercifulness finally coming into play. Dimmesdale dies after the weight of his sin is lifted off him, and the death is relief from the torture of Chillingworth. In Dimmesdale s case, God actually is merciful and enables him to leave the earth in peace.

Hawthorne shows here how God can be merciful if one endures God s punishment and eventually breaks it. Before, Chillingworth told Dimmesdale, Thou hast escaped me Thou hast escaped me! (268). Once freeing himself of God s punishment, Dimmesdale was able to die in peace. Only one of the characters is able to overcome the stigma of his sin, but only after he endures God s harshest punishment. Hester believes her sin has no effect on her later in life, but at the end is denied happiness by God. Chillingworth becomes so obsessed that sin arises from his obsession, which causes his death. Only Dimmesdale has the strength to withstand God s punishment and work hard to overcome his sin. This reinforces Hawthorne s beliefs on sin; God s punishment is the most sever, but it can be