Scarlet Letter

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Danika McGee
16 November 2012
The dish best served cold: Analysis of Roger Chillingworth’s revenge in The Scarlet Letter It is possible for someone to become so consumed by revenge that his health suffers. He has been wronged by someone and believe in “tit for a tat”, so they choose getting even instead of forgiveness. This may seem like the easiest and fairest way to live life, but it can completely occupy lives and cloud judgment. Roger Chillingworth chose to take revenge on Dimmesdale (for the affair the minister had with his wife) in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel The Scarlet Letter. His need for revenge becomes unnatural and his hatred for Dimmesdale eventually ruins him over the course of several years. Chillingworth is ashamed of the events that have taken place because he is in love with Hester. It is not Dimmesdale’s fault that he had relations with Hester while she and Chillingworth were married; he didn’t know this. Hester on the other hand was completely aware that she was not supposed to have relations out of wedlock. Dimmesdale is a coward and doesn’t take responsibility for his actions and Chillingworth tries to persuade Hester that “the man lives who has wronged [them] both” (4.20). While Dimmesdale technically did wrong the both of them, the wrong towards Chillingworth was unintentional and he is just too weak to do the right thing with Hester. Chillingworth wants no one to know that he was cheated on because he already believes he isn’t good looking. When Hester wants to confess everything he tells her to not “[tell] any soul that [she] ever call[ed] [him] husband” (4.26). While it would be upsetting for anyone if the whole community knew that their significant other cheated on them, it is worse if they are of a high social class. People know them and rumors will spread faster, so people will begin to look at them differently. Chillingworth loves Hester even though she does not love him. He blames himself for her committing adultery because he...
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