What is Hawthorne's attitude toward Roger Chillingworth?

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daveb's profile pic

daveb | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

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There are some oddly human characteristics of Roger, though, and these present themselves at different times. For instance, when Hester and Roger talk as Hester is in jail early in the book, they have a remarkably civil conversation, where they honestly describe their loveless marraige. While Roger does indicate that he will try to find out who the real father is, and it's obviously for nefarious purposes, he is civil and respectful with Hester. He even gets indignant when she thinks, in her half-crazed state, that he might actually be trying to harm Pearl. In that way, I think, Roger isn't as bad as we might first think.

The best example, though, of Roger being human is how he treats Pearl after death; he leaves his estate to her, something that is certainly unusual compared to how he has acted previously, but demonstrates that he might have had a heart after all.

David Becker

renelane's profile pic

renelane | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted on

Hawthorne depicts Chillingworth as an evil and mean-spirited old man. Even though he is the husband who has been wronged by a cheating wife, Hawthorne does not give him much in the way of sympathetic attributes. His conscience is only seen to bother him once, and this is when he first talks with Hester, and takes some responsibility in marrying someone too young and impressionable for him.

For the most part, Hawthorne portrays him as vengeful, and as the novel progresses he gets more repulsive. Hawthorne characterizes him as growing darker, which seems to symbolize the devil. His hunchback is more pronounced, he has aged, and his face is more heavily lined. Hawthorne gives him a dehumanized appearance toward the end of the novel, and he does not share in the redemption that Hester and Dimmesdale seem to attain.

rastahroo1's profile pic

rastahroo1 | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

well let's see. Roger is seen as the bad guy and has an enormous effect on both Hester and Dimmesdale. Hawthorne however, depicits him as a good guy but then later on turns into a bad one. Due to the effect of him wanting revenge on Dimmesdale. So his major sin is violating the human heart. so yup there's my answer.

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