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Pearl And Chillingworth In Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

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In the novel, The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, both Pearl and Chillingworth serve to represent differing aspects of Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale’s sin. Hester, the protagonist, feels immense guilt over her crime of adultery, as she was raised in a strict Puritan society. Internally, however, Hester believes that her act was beautiful and passionate, which is reflected in her daughter, Pearl. Similarly, Roger Chillingworth, Hester's husband, serves to constantly remind Dimmesdale of his crime. Unlike Hester, Dimmesdale believes that their act was a sin, causing Chillingworth to appear as Dimmesdale’s condemnation from hell. Ultimately, both Pearl and Chillingworth reflect the internal perception of both Hester’s and Dimmesdale’s …show more content…
Yet unlike Hester, Dimmesdale does not view his act as an act of passion, rather he sees is as a heinous sin that violates the basic tenets of his religion. Because of this, Chillingworth serves as Dimmesdale’s accuser. Hawthorn describes Chillingworth as having the power to summon “...a thousand phantoms-in many shapes, of death or awful shame, all flocking round about the clergy-man and pointing with their fingers at his breast”(132). Here, Hawthorn describes Chillingworth’s power to inflict immense emotional guilt upon Dimmesdale. His presence serves to remind Dimmesdale that he acted sinfully and is deserving of punishment. Since Dimmesdale himself believes that his sin warrants religious retribution, Chillingworth assumes the persona of the Devil. Hawthorn describes how many villagers believe that his medicinal fires stem “...from the lower region, and were fed with infernal fuel”(120). Chillingworth’s religiously diabolical personification represents Dimmesdale’s internal guilt and shame over him crime. Despite his passion, Dimmesdale recognizes that his affair with Hester was ultimately a violation of his religion, thus morally wrong. Chillingworth serves to personify Dimmesdale’s guilt and to add additional

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