What are the physical characteristics of Chillingworth in The Scarlet Letter? Please give quotes in the book to support these characteristics.

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On many occasions Chillingworth is said to be undesirable in every sense of the word, and his physical appearance is no exception. He is pale and twisted, and from Hester's point of view we see that he is at least mildly deformed—or, as it is pointed out, it "was sufficiently obvious to Hester Prynne that one of this man's shoulders rose higher than the other. "

Hester makes no bones about the fact that this is a loveless marriage. Ordinarily, it would not feel strange to feel some sort of sympathy for Chillingworth. However, it becomes very obvious that he is a psychic vampire and sadist and that the state of his soul matches his physical description in every way. His slow, psychological torture of Dimmesdale seems to not at all be rooted in the pain of the man's affair with Hester but in his joy of malice and vindication.

At points, Chillingworth even acknowledges his appearance and uses it to his advantage. He says to Hester:

How could I delude myself with the idea that intellectual gifts might veil physical deformity in a young girl's fantasy?

In this passage, Chillingworth plays a twisted sympathy card, implying that he is simply too physically ugly for Hester to love. As the reader realizes, whether or not this is true is immaterial. Chillingworth is incapable of feeling a moment of human warmth and is blaming Hester for his shortcoming. True to his profession, he is a "leech" in every sense of the word.

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In this novel, outward appearance often reflects the inner character of a person. Chillingworth, the cold-hearted scholar husband Hester finds difficult to love, is described as a small man with a "slight deformity of the figure" so that one shoulder is higher than another. He uses clothing to try to hide this oddity. He has a thin face that is "furrowed" with wrinkles, making him look older than he is.

Chillingworth's bodily deformities and deviations from norms of tall, virile masculinity reflect his secretive, devious, and ultimately immoral character, poisoned to the core by his desire to discover and then torment his wife's seducer. As we first meet him we learn that:

He was small in stature, with a furrowed visage, which, as yet, could hardly be termed aged. There was a remarkable intelligence in his features, as of a person who had so cultivated his mental part that it could not fail to mould the physical to itself, and become manifest by unmistakable tokens.

He is often physically associated with what at the time were symbols of the devil, such as Indians. For instance, when he arrives at the edge of the crowd watching Hester's public shaming for adultery, he is in the company of an Indian and wears "a strange disarray of civilized and savage costume." Such ambiguous dress conveys that he is an untrustworthy character.

He is also associated snakes. For example, as he sees his wife bearing the scarlet letter and begins to realize what is going on, a

writhing horror twisted itself across his features, like a snake gliding swiftly over them

He is, however, able very quickly to mask his shock, once again revealing his deceptive nature.

When he arrives at the prison where Hester is being kept with Pearl, he is described as having the "characteristic quietude" of a doctor. However, Hester shrinks away from his "cold" eyes and face. He is described as "calm" and "intent," but his appearance makes Hester "shudder."

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When Chillingworth first appears in the text, he is dressed in an odd "disarray of civilized and savage costume," a strange combination of both his own, English, and Native American garments. The narrator says that he is

. . . small in stature, with a furrowed visage, which, as yet, could hardly be termed aged. There was a remarkable intelligence in his features, as of a person who had so cultivated his mental part that it could not fail to mould the physical to itself, and become manifest by unmistakable tokens.

This man is short, then, with a deeply wrinkled face, though he is not yet truly old. He appears to be very intelligent. He also has apparently "endeavored to conceal" the fact that "one of [his] shoulders rose higher than the other. It is this "peculiarity" that allows Hester to absolutely identify him as her husband.

Later, however, Chillingworth's features begin to change, and not for the better. Initially, people said that he had looked "calm, meditative, scholar-like"; however, "Now, there was something ugly and evil in his face . . ." In fact,

According to the vulgar idea, the fire in his laboratory had been brought from the lower regions, and was fed with infernal fuel; and so, as might be expected, his visage was getting sooty with the smoke.

His face has actually become darker and more evil looking as a result of his diabolic plot against Hester's co-sinner. He begins to look as though he has been affected by the smoke from hell, when he had once looked like a wise and relatively typical older man.

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As soon as the reader meets Chillingworth, he is not an attractive man.  He emerges from the woods in a mixture of Native American and European dress with one shoulder slightly higher than the other.  However, as the novel continues, Chillingworth's apperance continues to change as well.

Chillingworth has made it his goal to find the man who sinned with Hester.  As his quest takes over his life, he grows more and more disturbing.  In Chapter 14, the narrator describes this change in Chillingworth's apperance.  This change shows that as the evil has taken over his life and soul, the evil is becoming evident on his outward appearance as well.

In a word, old Roger Chillingworth was a striking evidence of man's faculty of transforming himself into a devil, if he will only, for a reasonable space of time, undertake a devil's office. This unhappy person had effected such a transformation by devoting himself, for seven years, to the constant analysis of a heart full of torture, and deriving his enjoyment thence, and adding fuel to those fiery tortures which he analysed and gloated over.

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