The Unveiling of Roger Chillingworth

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Kendall Smith
Honors/Pre-IB English 2
Kober, Period 7
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
The Unveiling of Roger Chillingworth
In Chapter Ten, when Nathaniel Hawthorne illustrates the transformation of Roger Chillingworth from an unoffending man to a leech-like character seeking revenge on his host, Dimmesdale, the author implements comparisons along with specific word choice to characterize Chillingworth. His personality in the reader’s eyes metamorphoses into one of a fiendish parasite due to Hawthorne’s application of comparisons and connotations relating to both leeches and Satan. Together these literary techniques develop Chillingworth’s mutation from an upstanding citizen to a devilish bloodsucker and depict his relentless obsession with vengeance. Hawthorne integrates similes and metaphors into his unveiling of Chillingworth as a less righteous man than originally believed to aid characterization. His examination of Dimmesdale is begun “with the severe and equal integrity of a judge, desirous only of truth, even as if the question involved no more than the air-drawn lines and figures of a geometrical problem” (Hawthorne 3-5). The comparison of Chillingworth’s investigation to that of a judge is a metaphor, while the juxtaposition of the question at hand to a geometrical problem is a simile. Hawthorne goes on to convey that, as the inquiry continues, Chillingworth’s methods grow more like that of “a miner searching for gold; or, rather, […] a sexton delving into a grave, possibly in quest of a jewel that had been buried on the dead man’s bosom,” (9-10). The similes reveal that the doctor’s pursuit of knowledge is no longer innocent, portraying Chillingworth as obsessive in the searching of Dimmesdale’s soul. The comparison of Chillingworth to a miner is extended when Dimmesdale is compared to the soil he mines (16). In addition, the “jewel that had been buried on the dead man’s bosom” symbolizes the supposed match to Hester’s embroidered A on the minister’s...
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