Describe Roger Chillingworth's journey throughout The Scarlet Letter.  If you can, include at least 8 or more things/events.

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scarletpimpernel eNotes educator| Certified Educator

1. Chillingworth is at first threatening, but only in Hester's eyes since she is the only one who knows who he really is.  His visitation in the jail is unwelcome, and he threatens Hester to keep quiet about his real identity.

2. After Hester is released from jail, Chillingworth becomes dogged in his search for the identity of Pearl's father. He is like a bloodhound on the scent of a suspect.

3. Gradually, Chillingworth becomes even more discerning as he observes others' actions and expressions, seeking to see into the inner parts of mankind.

4. Chillingworth, in the first sections about his character, is two-faced; he gains the trust of the townspeople and is allowed to live with the minister to give advice to him.  His whole goal, though, in living with Dimmesdale is to begin to torture him.

5. Chillingworth becomes torturous. He knows just what to say to increase Dimmesdale's guilt; he spies on Dimmesdale in his most private moments, and he might even be poisoning the minister.

6. As his torture of Hester's ex-lover continues, Chillingworth becomes more vindictive.  He lords over Hester the fact that he is destroying the minister and uses that to increase her agony.

7. Before Dimmesdale's death, the "doctor" is ubiquitous (seemingly everywhere).  Hester and Dimmesdale makes plans to flee Boston, but Chillingworth finds out and books passage on the same place.  No where, not even the forest, provides an escape from the villain.

8. After Dimmesdale dies, Chillingworth is deflated and somewhat repentant.  He no longer has anything to live for; so he dies himself, but his repentance is seen in the inheritance he leaves to Pearl.  It seems that in the end he realized the wickedness and futility of his years of scheming and wanted to make some good come from the what originally caused him to want to destroy others.

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The Scarlet Letter

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