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How does Roger Chillingworth's appearance change and how does Hester interpret the...

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azngirl13 | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 30, 2007 at 7:23 AM via web

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How does Roger Chillingworth's appearance change and how does Hester interpret the changes she sees in him?

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sullymonster | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted September 30, 2007 at 9:32 AM (Answer #1)

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Throughout the novel, Hawthrone develops his description of Chillingworth from an older, weathered man to a twisted, almost demonic cariacature.  Here is a quote after his change:

"But the former aspect of an intellectual and studious man ... had altogether vanished, and been succeeded by a eager, searching, almost fierce, yet carefully guarded look. It seemed to be his wish and purpose to mask this expression with a smile, but the latter played him false, and flickered over his visage so derisively that the spectator could see his blackness all the better for it. Ever and anon, too, there came a glare of red light out of his eyes, as if the old man's soul were on fire and kept on smouldering duskily within his breast..."

Hester sees his twisted features and the determined glint in his eye and immediately believes it is evil, even the devil, shining through on his visage.  She understands at this point the length to which he will go to punish the man he believes to have wronged him by committing adultery with Hester.

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