Throughout a single character, any type of

Throughout all forms of literature, the author will often provide situations and characters, each which can contain a strong symbolic meaning. Symbolism allows a character to be expressed as almost anything.

Through the symbolism of a single character, any type of character trait, story, or way of life can be told. Also, a character can represent a strong and demanding feeling. One of these feelings is that of revenge, a controlling obsession possessed by a character. It is a problem that may lead to feelings or acts of sin and evil. The actions, feelings, thoughts, and looks of one character may symbolize that chain of evil and sin, including the root of all evil. In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, symbolism is used throughout the novel to describe the character Roger Chillingworth’s acts of revenge, representing sin and evil, including the devil, which lead to the decomposition of his character. Near the beginning of the novel, as Roger Chillingworth first appears as a character, his symbolic relationship with the devil and sin is first apparent.

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Roger Chillingworth first appears as a stranger of the new colony. After being held captive by Indians after he was shipwrecked a year before, he learns of Hester’s sin. Shortly after, the symbolic relationship between Chillingworth and the devil is first shown in Chapter 4, where he disguises himself as a physician, and provides a new identity for himself as Roger Chillingworth. “…said Old Roger Chillingworth, as he was hereafter to be named.” Pg. 81 “The Stranger entered the room with the characteristic quietude of the profession to which he announced himself as belonging.” Pg.

76. After changing his name to Roger Chillingworth, and labeling himself as a great physician, he is able to deceive the colony. This may relate to the devil in the way that stories have told how the devil often disguises itself in order to tempt someone, or perform another evil. The primary and deadly evil seen vividly through Roger Chillingworth is that of vengeance. It is his primary sin and problem in the novel, which eventually leads to his defeat and his death.

What once began for Chillingworth as an act of vengeance, slowly transformed into a life of endless obsession. “Not the less, he shall be mine.” Pg. 78. Roger Chillingworth tells Hester that the father of her child will be known and that Chillingworth will make it certain that he learns the man, and confronts him. The reader may experience the intensity of Chillingworth’s plans for the future, as the foreshadowing of his obsession is apparent. As the passion of his revenge grows, Chillingworth’s actions become more sinful and symbolic.

“…this learned man was the physician as well as friend of the young minister.” Pg. 109. Chillingworth decides to become good friends with Reverend Dimmesdale, the father of Hester Prynne’s child, in order to ensure the slow and painful torture of the reverend. “These black weeds have sprung up out of a buried heart to make manifest of an unspoken crime.” Pg.

129. Chillingworth speaks to the reverend about the blackness of secrets in order to torture the reverend by increasing the pain of his guilt. Chillingworth’s evil symbolism is also apparent here in his obsession of destroying the reverend. Although Chillingworth was the only character with no problem at the start of the novel, his dedication to vengeance and pure evil, leads to his defeat as he remains the only character who never repents for any of his sins. The structure of Chillingworth’s character is carefully decomposed throughout the novel. “…Hester had been looking steadily at the old man, and was shocked, as well as wonder-smitten, to discern what a change had been wrought upon him in the last seven years.

But the former aspect of an intellectual and studious man, calm and quiet, which was what she best remembered in him, had altogether vanished and had been succeeded by an eager.

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