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At the beginning of the novel, Chillingworth is an intelligent older man who has been held captive by the Indians for over a year. When he sees Hester and finds out what she has done, he is shocked, angry, as well as regretful for what he feels is his part in causing the affair. He seems to be a rational, reasonable older man. After meeting with Hester however, he vows to discover and take revenge on the man who had an affair with Hester. As he continues to seek revenge against Dimmesdale, the novel says he becomes more and more evil looking. His entire life revolves around this revenge, and he becomes bound by it. The book even says that at times he looks like the very devil. His appearance becomes more ugly and misshapen. By the end of the novel, when Dimmesdale confesses, Chillingworth has no option except to die, because his whole life has been centered around revenge, and the revenge is no longer possible.
Another interesting addition is that when we last see Chillingworth, in Chapter 24, he has relented, more or less, to become kinder. He has given a substantial inheritance to Pearl, and has become unlike he has been previously, unless you consider his honesty with Hester in the jail earlier in the book to be a hint of goodness.
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