The Black Man of the Forest: A Literary Analysis Essay Of The Scarlet Letter
In almost every story there are forces of good and evil that are in conflict. The most dangerous of these evils are those that are not obvious. In Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, the Black Man of the forest is none other than Roger Chillingworth. Some may read the novel and assume that Dimmesdale is the Black Man. It may be viewed that Dimmesdale’s affair with Hester is the cause for the scarlet letter, but this is untrue. To assume that there was no mutual relationship between Dimmesdale and Hester is a large mistake, as both had affection for each other. Another mistake is to assume Hester is the only one who has a mark placed upon her, as Dimmesdale also received a mark. Dimmesdale’s mark is not visible to the world, but burns deep within his chest. Both Hester and Dimmesdale’s marks burn as a daily reminder of sin and unholiness.
It is only fitting that Roger Chillingworth, a learned scholar and a makeshift physician be the Black Man of the forest, and represent an evil force in the novel. Hawthorne uses Chillingworth as a symbol of science, which is a common theme in many of his works. Hawthorne’s dislike of men of science is also evident in many of his texts, like “Rappaccini’s Daughter” and “Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment”. In both these stories a man of science, either Rappaccini or Dr. Heidegger, represent some form of evil. In the story, many references are made to the Black Man’s book. In “Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment” the information about the magic water came from Dr. Heidegger’s black book with large clasps. Roger Chillingworth is in possession of a large leather bound book with clasps. He uses it to reference herbs and plants that he collects in the forest, in order to create medicines which he administers. The black man in the forest is yet another sinister figure who carries a...
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