Chapter 9 Summary and Analysis
Roger Chillingworth is the "leech" of this chapter's title. Following his meeting with Hester, Roger began working as a physician in Boston. While held captive by the Native Americans, he learned a great deal about natural medicine, which he uses in his practice. He quickly becomes renowned for his work, which leads him to become Reverend Dimmesdale's personal physician. The minister has some misgivings about the arrangement. He would much rather suffer without treatment and die as is, without medical intervention. Nevertheless, Chillingworth starts to treat him.
Chillingworth becomes fascinated with the minister. Dimmesdale, in turn, feels a certain intellectual curiosity toward Chillingworth, whose education as a physician intrigues the minister. They engage in many intellectual conversations about a wide range of topics, including ethics, religion, and even public affairs. Pleased by this friendship, the townspeople arrange for the two to lodge together in a small house owned by a Christian widow. Here, Dimmesdale takes a sunny room on one side of the house, while Chillingworth sets up a small laboratory on the other.
Not everyone thinks highly of Chillingworth, however. Some townsfolk suspect him of being evil, citing the changes in his appearance his face has undergone since he settled in Boston and became acquainted with the Reverend. It appears that Chillingworth and Dimmesdale are engaged in a sort of quiet, moral war of which only one of them can be the victor.
(The entire section is 704 words.)