Evolution of Characters in The Scarlet Letter

4 April 2015
Outlines the changes the major characters go through in the novel, “The Scarlet Letter.”

This paper looks at Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter. The author looks at the transformations that the characters undergo which affects the outcome of their lives. The transformation is a direct result of sin, guilt, and hatred and their influence on the human spirit. Sin and guilt can greatly affect the human heart and are often a catalyst for change within a human being.
The sin of Hester and Dimmesdale has the greatest effect on Roger Chillingworth. Originally, Chillingworth was a decent and much better as a person. He is angered by the actions of his wife and wants revenge more than anything else. Not thy soul, he answered, with another smile. No, not thine (74). Chillingworth plans from the start to ruin the soul of the Reverend. He lets his anger turn itself into evil and that evil embeds itself in his heart. Chillingworth begins to explore the soul of Dimmesdale in an attempt to draw out a confession. He now dug into the poor clergyman’s heart like a miner searching for gold; or, rather like a sexton delving into a grave, possibly in quest of a jewel that had been buried on the dead man’s bosom (125). Chillingworth has let his evil feelings take over his mind and actions. He wants nothing more than to torment the priest. He turns into a chilling person as his name implies and comes to symbolize the devil himself. Eventually, his hatred takes its toll on Chillingworth himself. All his strength and energy all his vital and intellectual force seemed at once to desert him; insomuch that he positively withered up (254).
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