In The Scarlet Letter, what is Chillingworth’s sin? What is the future like for Pearl? Why does Hester eventually return to Boston?

In The Scarlet Letter, Chillingworth's sin is the cold-blooded way he has taken revenge on Dimmesdale by tormenting him for having an affair with Hester. Hester returns to Boston to see the procession inaugurating the new governor. Later, she returns to live in New England because it is where her "real life" is. We don't know for certain what happens to Pearl, but she ends up wealthy, probably married and happy, and devoted to her mother from afar.

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Chillingworth's sin has been his lack of compassion in taking revenge on Dimmesdale by pretending to be his friend but slowly tormenting him day by day. Chillingworth has long known that Dimmesdale is the man Hester loves and has had an affair and child with. Chillingworth can't forgive him for any of this, nor can he forgive Hester, and his increasingly diabolic heart takes pleasure in spoiling things for both of them. As Dimmesdale lays dying on the Boston scaffold, having confessed his sin, Chillingworth says,

Thou hast escaped me!

Dimmesdale answers in a way that shows he knows what was done to him:

“May God forgive thee!” said the minister. “Thou, too, hast deeply sinned!”

Hester returns to the marketplace in Boston where the drama above will soon unfold to watch the procession celebrating the inauguration of the new governor. The day has been declared a holiday, and many people have thronged downtown to see the festivities.

While Pearl's future, like Pearl herself, remains somewhat mysterious, we learn that she inherits a great fortune when Chillingworth dies, because he made her his heir. She is the richest heiress in New England. However, she and Hester leave the area. Hester eventually returns to Boston alone; it is where her "real life" is, rather than in the "unknown region" where Pearl lives. Hester lives alone, but Pearl sends her gifts. The village gossips conclude that Pearl has settled down and married "and [is] happy, and mindful of her mother."

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