Characters in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter help the reader form his or her own view about characters and compare their features of personality. Characters, Hester Prynne and Roger Chillingworth, help the reader to understand difference between good and evil.
Hester Prynne is main character in the book ,who has to undergo and overcome a punishment and shame because she sinned.Her previous history is not well-known to us. She came from Europe, where she married, a much older scholar-Chilingworth.He did not fulfill her with love at all, because he ignored her. Chillingworth was much less than ideal husband. She agreed to go to America and wait there for her husband until he would be able to come.After a few years she spent alone in America , she commits adultery with Dimmesdale. She gets pregnant , which proves her sin. She is arrested and spends with her baby a time in prison, where she designs an ornamental letter “A” like her symbol of shame, which she has to wear for rest of her life. This time is very harsh for her and also her sorrow feelings are more intensive during her scaffold punishment.”She perchance underwent an agony from every footstep of those that thronged to see her.” (53) Her only reason to live is her baby.” Little Pearl ,of course, was her companion.” (97) In the scaffold scene she shows her strong personality ,because she does not to want repeal the name of her lover.She is willing to take all the guilt for the sin.
”Wondrous strength and generosity of a woman’s heart. She will not speak.” (66) She becomes alienated from the community. She learns from her mistakes, and she is better to rise Pearl to the good manners and behavior, because she does not want to lose her.” Some of the leading inhabitants, cherishing the more rigid order of principles in religion and government, to deprive her of her.” (96) Hester knows ,she has to rely just on herself and it makes her independent.” She was supported by an unnatural tension of the nerves and by the all combative energy of her character, which enabled her to convert into a kind of lurid triumph.” (75) Otherwise she feels very lonely. ”Lonely as was Hester’s situation ,and without a friend on earth who dared to show himself,” (78) After seven years of effort to help community, people begin to change their point of view. Hester latter “A” converts from “Adulterer” to “able”.”Such helpfulness was founded in her –so much power to do and power to sympathize that many people refused to interpret the scarlet latter “A” by its original signification.They said it means “ Able” ” ( 158).
Roger Chilingworth, already his name tells us about his very cold and numb personality. His appearance seems very unpleasant because of his deformed shoulders. His ignoring of his wife Hester confirms his selfish personality. He comes to Massachusetts as foreigner, and he tries to hide his history. He gets doctor’s nickname “Leech”, what is really appropriate for him. At the beginning he is welcomed in the community as a doctor, because of his knowledge of European science and knowledge of native remedies. They also value him more since he helps Dimmesdale to “recover” from his illness. After time has passed ,people begin to see true evil in him, because his face turns into gruesome appearance.” Now ,there was something ugly and evil and evil in his face which they had not previously noticed,” ( 124) When he comes it to Massachusetts he is very quite ,and control every sentence he says ,because at first he just wants to look as not included spectator. As community begins to accept him as a doctor, he talks much more and become more active in community life, but there is no person, with whom he could form a truly good relationship. He finds out that Dimmesdale is Hester’s lover . Finally he found his victim, so he can fulfill his revenge. As time passes ,his mind and every his thought are more full of hatred , and it changes him into “an uprooted weed vanished from mortal sight.” (254)
They both Hester and Chillingworth are sinner, but there is big difference between meaning of their sins. Hester sinned because she loved , but she did not want to hurt anybody. In addition, she learned from her mistake, try to calm down her passionate personality and improve her behavior. Chillingworth sins because he hates and he is longing for a revenge, that is focused on hurting somebody. He can not forgive Hester’s lover and he continues to ruin him slowly. They represent two opposite features – good and evil. Hester gives life and love to her daughter ,who is her only treasure. She also sews clothes and contributes to the charity. She tries to fulfill her life with love, compassion and helping poor. She creates real values.
Chillingworth is cold scholar ,who did not love and even did not devote his time to his wife Hester during their marriage in Europe. He comes to America and gets nickname “Leech”, what determine him as person, who sucks his victim until he gets what he wants. He gives no good contribution to the community . His selfishness forces him to concentrate just on his own goals.
The Scarlet Letter has characters ,who represent different qualities. Basically they are divided into two groups good and evil,. The reader feel with the character, which is similar to him or her. The reader typically identifies with the good character, because nobody wants to act like bad person. The examples of good and evil characters in the book are Hester and Chillingworth, who help the reader to realize difference between them.
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