Why does Chillingworth "seek no vengeance, plot no evil against" Hester? Who, according to Chillingworth, is most deserving of vengeance?

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lusie0520 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Chillingworth seeks no vengeance and plots no evil against Hester because he knows she will have to live with her sin in a very public way, and this is more than enough revenge for him.  “Even if I imagine a scheme of vengeance, what could I do better for my object than to let thee live--than to give thee medicines against all harm and peril of life--so that this burning shame may still blaze upon thy bosom?"  Chillingworth knows that keeping Hester alive means that she will suffer every day for the rest of her life.  Why, then, would he seek vengeance against her?

The person who is really deserving of vengeance, according to Chillingworth, is Hester’s partner in sin.  He says: “Between thee and me, the scale hangs fairly balanced. But, Hester, the man lives who has wronged us both! Who is he?”  In Chillingworth’s opinion, both he and Hester have been wronged by her partner, who is refusing to stand up and take the blame.

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The Scarlet Letter

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