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People are not always what they seem to be. Roger Chillingworth in The Scarlet Letter shows that everyone sins but some people’s sins are worse than others. The Scarlet Letter shows Chillingworth’s sins throughout the book. One of Hawthorne’s intentions was having Chillingworth as the worst sinner, because he used his herbs to keep Dimmesdale alive-he prolonged Dimmesdale’s torture, he used “black medicine”, and when Dimmesdale stopped taking the herbs, he passed away. Roger Chillingworth came to town with the Indians, and Hawthorne described them as outcasts and dwellers of the forest.
Roger had learned all his tricks and medicines from the Indians and therefore was able to prolong Dimmesdale’s torture through using herbs. Chillingworth says, “Don’t think that I will lay a finger on him and interfere with Heaven’s work of punishment… let him live. ” Chillingworth never physically laid a hand on Dimmesdale, but he kept him healthy using the herbs to make sure that Dimmesdale would endure the torture of his affair, mentally and physically. Chillingworth knew exactly what he was doing to Dimmesdale.
He said it would have been better had he died right away than endure seven years of vengeance. Here Roger is admitting that he has spent the last seven years using his herbs to keep Dimmesdale alive because death would be too easy. Roger Chillingworth was described as giving “black medicine” to Dimmesdale. Him using this was a way to punish Dimmesdale for wronging him. The term “black medicine” is in correlation with the devil, as if Chillingworth is acting as Satan to get back at Dimmesdale.
While talking with Dimmesdale he says, “Wherefore not; since all the powers of nature call so earnestly for the confession of sin, that these black weeds have sprung up out of a buried heart, to make manifest an unspoken crime? ” Here, Chillingworth is expressing his use of the “black medicine”. What he is using are weeds he found at the cemetery, and he is explaining them as nature’s punishment for people who have committed hidden crimes. Chillingworth is hinting that the medicine he is giving Dimmesdale is nature’s way of making sure Dimmesdale is getting the punishment he deserves.
Roger’s sin here is that he is one with the devil and carrying out actions only the devil would use through the “black medicine”. Once he stopped partaking the herbs given by Chillingworth, unfortunately, Dimmesdale died. This is proof Chillingworth used the herbs to stall Dimmesdale’s untimely death. At their home, Chillingworth offered Dimmesdale medicine. “But methinks, dear Sir, you look pale; as if the travel through the wilderness had been too sore for you. Will not my aid be requisite to put you in heart and strength to preach your Election Sermon? Dimmesdale passed on the medicine, knowing Chillingworth’s intentions. Chillingworth was described as being a “leech” and feed off of Dimmesdale’s pain, but when he collapsed and died on the scaffold the next day, he had nothing left to live for and died soon after. It is not a coincidence that Dimmesdale died so soon after being clean of herbs. Death was not a part of Chillingworth’s plan, and Dimmesdale was able to escape Chillingworth’s torture by stopping his medications and dying. Roger Chillingworth is the worst sinner in The Scarlet Letter.
He prolonged Dimmesdale’s torture through herbs and was one with the devil. Roger Chillingworth never laid a hand on Dimmesdale throughout the book but he mentally got to him over the seven years. The herbs kept Dimmesdale alive just so Roger could get his revenge through the torture. When Dimmesdale passed away after stopping the herbs Roger Chillingworth had nothing left to live for, and died shortly after, because as the “leech”, he no longer had anything to feed off of. Roger Chillingworth was not always the man that he seemed, he had something deeper in him and was the worst sinner.
Author: Royce Ballin
Worst Sinner in the Scarlet Letter
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The Worst Sinner in the Scarlet Letter
1444 WordsNov 16th, 20126 Pages
The Worst Sinner in The Scarlet Letter
In The Scarlet Letter there are three main sinners presented to the reader. Hester Prynne, Arthur Dimmesdale and Roger Chillingworth are all written with their own forms of sin, and each has a unique coping mechanism for their sins and guilt. Sin, at this time, was a hugely important part of daily life, and punishment for one’s sins was universally seen as not only a positive thing, but a necessary action to keep the people of the colony pure. Both Hester and Dimmesdale receive great punishments for their sin of adultry. However, one character is portrayed as a true sinner, more so than the others. Roger Chillingworth is by far the worst sinner in The Scarlet Letter. This is made apparent by…show more content…
Roger Chillingworth’s sin, however, was not in an instant. His was calculated, drawn out, and committed with malice towards both Dimmesdale and Hester for years on end. He tormented Dimmesdale psychologically for years, and drained what little life Dimmesdale had in him out slowly and intentionally.He felt no guilt for these sins, nor was he ever punished for them in life. “Certainly, if the meteor kindled up the sky, and disclosed the earth, with an awfulness that admonished Hester Prynne and the clergyman of the day of judgment, then might Roger Chillingworth have passed with them for the arch-fiend, standing there, with a smile and scowl, to claim his own. So vivid was the expression, or so intense the minister's perception of it, that it seemed still to remain painted on the darkness, after the meteor had vanished, with an effect as if the street and all things else were at once annihilated” (Hawthorne. Chapter 12.) This passage shows the reader the malevolent nature that Chillingworth begins to take on in the novel, seeming almost inhuman in his unwavering hatred for Dimmesdale, and the torture he inflicts upon him. Once again his lack of remorse is expressed plainly for the reader. The themes of sin and revenge in The Scarlet Letter are made prominent and clear, as Hawthorne tends to express every theme in the novel. The two are closely tied together in the case of Roger Chillingworth. In The Scarlet Letter,