A Parasitic Worm-Leech
The uses of blood-sucking leeches as medical tools are prevalent, but a lot of people still detest “leeches” and in The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne used both characteristics of a leech to epitomize Roger Chillingworth, the husband of Hester, the protagonist. In the story, to find the man who gave birth to Hester’s child, Chillingworth entered the Puritan town, where Hester and Dimmesdale lived in. In the town, people considered doctors as “leeches” and Chillingworth lived with Reverend Dimmesdale at another house to cure Dimmesdale’s deteriorating health. However, that wasn’t Chillingworth’s intention in the first place; he suspected Dimmesdale as the imposter. Like a parasite, Chillingworth settled into the house, and he tried to find out the hidden truth by delving into his room at night. Also, after finding out that Dimmesdale was the imposter, he slowly tortured Dimmesdale by making him feel guilty of his hidden sin and he tried to follow Dimmesdale and Hester when they attempted to leave the town after Dimmesdale delivered his sermon. In the end, when Dimmesdale confessed his secret, like a leech that lost its host, Chillingworth died. Although Chillingworth committed evil acts, Chillingworth showed a glimpse of good characteristics of leech; people were relieved to have a doctor because there weren’t many doctors in town. Also, he later found redemption for his act of retaliation in bequeathing his wealth to Pearl. In a nutshell, Hawthorne used the symbol “leech” to represent Roger Chillingworth’s two-sided personalities. However, regardless of his two-sided personalities, his main plan was to find out and retaliate on “that” man. In chapter 9, Chillingworth arrived at the Puritan town as a doctor. Suspecting Dimmesale as the imposter, Chillingworth “attached” to Dimmesdale and told the townspeople that he was going to recuperate Dimmesdale’s debilitating health; they both went and lived in an unoccupied house. Like a leech ready...
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