The Worst Sinner in the Scarlet Letter

1444 Words Nov 16th, 2012 6 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
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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,
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