How does revenge transform people?

By: Drew Johnson

Character 1: Chillingsworth

Quote 1) "What choice had you?" asked Roger Chillingworth. "My finger, pointed at this man, would have hurled him from his pulpit into a dungeon, —thence, peradventure, to the gallows!" (Hawthorne, 159)


Quote 2) The intellect of Roger Chillingworth had now a sufficiently plain path before it. It was not, indeed, precisely that which he had laid out for himself to tread. Calm, gentle, passionless, as he appeared, there was yet, we fear, a quiet depth of malice, hitherto latent, but active now, in this unfortunate old man, which led him to imagine a more intimate revenge than any mortal had ever wreaked upon an enemy. (Hawthorne, 129)


Quote 3) 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, 142)


Summary: Chillingsworth throughout the whole story plots this evil revenge scheme against whoever Hester, his wife's, fellow adulterer is. As later on it turns out to be the Reverend Dimmesdale, and Chillingsworth is doing everything in his power to make the revenge sweeter. Chillingsworth is described as the devil himself or is compared to him at least because of the vengeful thoughts.

Character 2: Reverend Dimmesdale

Quote 1) "What evil have I done the man?" asked Roger Chillingworth again. "I tell thee, Hester Prynne, the richest fee that ever physician earned from monarch could not have bought such care as I have wasted on this miserable priest!...beneath a burden like thy scarlet letter. O, I could reveal a goodly secret! But enough! What art can do, I have exhausted on him. That he now breathes, and creeps about on earth, is owing all to me!" (Hawthorne, 159)


Quote 2) "I have left thee to the scarlet letter," replied Roger Chillingworth. "If that have not avenged me, I can do no more!" (Hawthorne, 160)


Quote 3) "Thou shalt forgive me!" cried Hester, flinging herself on the fallen leaves beside [Dimmesdale]. "Let God punish! Thou shalt forgive!" (Hawthorne, 180)


Summary: Dimmesdale is mainly the victim of Chillingsworth's cruel revenge, due to the fact that he is the one who committed the sin of adultery with Hester. As a highly respected man of the church he is not suspected or will he own up to his sins in front of the people. Dimmesdale relies on god to give punishment to Chillingsworth for being a vengeful soul, and he himself asks for forgiveness of his sin of adultery sadly Chillingsworth does not forgive so easily.

Conflict 1) Reverend Dimmesdale Vs. Chillingsworth

Quote 1) "Thou hast escaped me!" [Chillingworth] repeated more than once. "Thou hast escaped me!"

"May God forgive thee!" said the minister. "Thou, too, hast deeply sinned!" (Hawthorne, 239)


Quote 2) "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!" (Hawthorne, 237)


Quote 3) "It was my folly! I have said it. But up to that epoch of my life, I had lived in vain. The world had been so cheerless! My heart was a habitation large enough for many guests, but lonely and chill and without a household fire. I longed to kindle one!" (Hawthorne, 69)


Summary: Dimmesdale and Chillingsworth are at each other's throats most of the story, because Dimmesdale committed adultery with Hester Chillingsworth's wife. Chillingsworth makes Dimmesdale's life a living nightmare as his doctor he has full access to Dimmesdale and he misuses that privilege a lot. He slowly tortures him and punishes him for the sin he committed and when Chillingsworth says he is coming after someone he means it.

Conflict 2) Chillingsworth Vs. Himself

Quote 1) "With the superstition common to his brotherhood, he fancied himself given over to a fiend, to be tortured with frightful dreams, and desperate thoughts, the sting of remorse, and despair of pardon..." (Hawthorne, 159)



Quote 2) Calm, gentle, passionless, as he appeared, there was yet, we fear, a quiet depth of malice, hitherto latent, but active now, in this unfortunate old man, which led him to imagine a more intimate revenge than any mortal had ever wreaked upon an enemy. To make himself the one trusted friend, to whom should be confided all the fear, the remorse, the agony, the ineffectual repentance, the backward rush of sinful thoughts, expelled in vain! All that guilty sorrow, hidden from the world, whose great heart would have pitied and forgiven, to be revealed to him, the Pitiless, to him, the Unforgiving! All that dark treasure to be lavished on the very man, to whom nothing else could so adequately pay the debt of vengeance!" (Hawthorne, 129)


Quote 3) “Here on this wild outskirt of earth, I shall pitch my tent; for, elsewhere a wanderer, and isolated from human interests, I find here a woman, a man, a child, amongst whom and myself there exist the closest ligaments.” (Hawthorne, 68)


Summary: Mainly in the beginning of the book Chillingsworth notices a change in physical appearance and also in the ways he thinks. This revenge eats him up the entire book but nearing the end of the book he doesn't even notice anymore. He has transformed into a nightmare to Dimmesdale, Hester, possibly Pearl, and also himself he is also a danger to all the people of the town. He is a trickster, a liar, and a fiend as they use heavily in the book a fiend of the devil as they say, and they probably aren't far off with that title.