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Chillingworth Scarlet Letter Essay On Pearl

Pearl And Chillingworth's Struggle For Dimmesdale's Soul In The Scarlet Letter

The struggle between good and evil is the basis for any good work of literature. The Scarlet Letter is a unique story when it comes to the battle of light over darkness. There is not a set of good characters versus a set of bad; each individual has his own sins, whether hidden or exposed, that blights his nature. Despite this, there is one main struggle that dominates throughout the book. Pearl and Roger Chillingworth contend brutally over the soul of the minister Arthur Dimmesdale.
Although seen as a holy magistrate, Reverend Dimmesdale committed the sin of adultery. Not only did he violate his reverence for Hester Prynne’s soul (Hawthorne 234), but he also wronged her husband, Roger Chillingworth. In addition to this, Dimmesdale hid his sin while Hester suffered public humiliation and degradation. His cowardice acts invited the war over his soul, which attacked him mercilessly throughout the story.
Roger Chillingworth is the representation of evil warring against Dimmesdale. Ironically one of the minister’s closest friends, Roger’s purpose in life is to seek out, like a search for truth, the man who wronged him (Hawthorne 66). He wants to make him tremble and shudder (Hawthorne 67). From the very beginning of the conflict, Chillingworth’s dark intensions and his evil heart are clearly seen. He is not after justice, but rather a sinister revenge. Justice and public exposure would have paved a path for retribution, but Roger wanted a destruction that would disintegrate the very fabric of Dimmesdale’s being. Chillingworth wanted to suck every trace of life from the minister’s body and mind. In order to achieve his dark desires, Roger digs into Arthur’s soul trying to uncover the hidden sin like miner searching for gold (Hawthorne 115). The poison of Roger’s wickedness works its office; Dimmesdale becomes fatally affected by his relationship with him. His health and energy declines, and the scarlet letter on his own breast burns deeper into his heart.
The wickedness in Chillingworth’s nature did not fester unnoticed. Hester asks him if he is the Black Man that haunts the forest (Hawthorne 68); the Black Man being the devil, and the forest representing evil in general. Even Hawthorne says that old Roger Chillingworth is Satan’s emissary, or even a guise for Satan himself (114). His impiety was powerful enough to be compared with the Devil’s. In one scene from the book, Pearl sees Chillingworth and Dimmesdale together; she tells her mother that the Black Man has caught the minister (Hawthorne 120). Pearl is very perceptive to the influence that he has over Arthur, as well as many other things about the minister and Chillingworth.
As for the good of Dimmesdale, Pearl represents the way to salvation. The little child is a symbol for everything pure and good when it comes to struggle for the minister’s soul. When Pearl remarked that the Black Man captured the minister’s soul, she simply laughed saying that he could not catch her (Hawthorne 120)....

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Arthur Dimmesdale is a respected minister in Boston and the father of Pearl. While Hester waited for her husband to arrive from Amsterdam, she met Dimmesdale and had an adulterous affair with him, which led to the birth of their daughter. While Hester is publicly shamed for the adultery, Dimmesdale must suffer the ignominy quietly since no one knows of his culpability. The suffering begins to take its physical toll, especially since Hester's husband Chillingworth seeks to destroy Dimmesdale and is a constant reminder of the guilt and shame he harbors from his affair with Hester. At the very end of the novel, Dimmesdale admits to being Pearl's father and reveals that he has a scarlet letter branded into his flesh. He dies upon the scaffold while holding Hester's hand.

a nickname for the devil. The legend speaks of a Black Man who inhabits the woods and gets people to write their names in his book, using their own blood as ink.

the oldest inhabitant of the Customs House. He has the independent position of Collector, which allows him to avoid the politicized shuffling of positions. He also protects the other men from being fired, which is why many of the employees are old.

the former governor, who believes Hester should not be allowed to raise Pearl since it would only lead to the child's spiritual demise. He decides to allow Pearl to stay with her mother after Dimmesdale pleads on her behalf.

Hester Prynne, the protagonist of the novel, is the mother of Pearl. She must wear the scarlet letter A on her body as punishment for her adulterous affair with Arthur Dimmesdale, the town minister. Hester is married to Roger Chillingworth, but while Hester awaited her husband's arrival from Amsterdam, she met Dimmesdale and engaged in the adulterous affair, which led to Pearl's birth. Hester is never quite penitent for her “crime,” if only because she cannot understand how her punishments could be so harsh. When Governor Bellingham orders Pearl to be taken away from her, Hester wonders whether a woman must die for following her heart, prompting Dimmesdale to intercede as a subtle way of taking responsibility for the affair. Hester learns that Chillingworth is seeking to destroy Dimmesdale, and she decides that her marriage was never sanctified in the first place, for her husband has the seething rage of the devil himself. Hester is thus paired with Dimmesdale upon the scaffold for his final moments.

The Inspector is the patriarch of the Customs House. His father created the post for him, and he has retained it ever since. He is considered one of the happiest workers, likely because he knows he will never be removed from his post.

the eldest clergyman in Boston and a friend of Arthur Dimmesdale.

an ancient surveyor of the Customs House. Hawthorne, as narrator, claims to have found a package with his name on it, containing the story of the novel.

the sister of Governor Bellingham. She is killed for being a witch after the novel's events. She routinely sneaks into the woods during the night to conduct covert business in the service of "The Black Man."

Hester's daughter. Pearl is characterized as a living version of the scarlet letter. She constantly causes her mother and Dimmesdale torment and anguish throughout the novel with her ability to at once state the truth and deny it when it is most necessary. Pearl is described as extremely beautiful but lacking Christian decency. After Arthur Dimmesdale dies, Pearl's wildness eases, and she eventually marries.

Hester's husband from the Netherlands. Chillingworth arrives in Boston on the day that Hester is publicly shamed and forced to wear the scarlet letter. He vows revenge on the father of Pearl, and he soon moves in with Arthur Dimmesdale, who Chillingworth knows has committed adultery with his wife. His revenge is frustrated at the end of the novel, when Dimmesdale reveals that he is Pearl's father before dying. Chillingworth, having lost the object of his hatred, dies soon thereafter.

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