© 2015 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
The Scarlet Letter

The Scarlet Letter

  

by Nathaniel Hawthorne

 Table of Contents

The Scarlet Letter Chapter 23 Quotes

How we cite the quotes:
(Chapter.Paragraph)

"Hadst thou sought the whole earth over," said he, looking darkly at the clergyman, "there was no one place so secret, —no high place nor lowly place, where thou couldst have escaped me,--save on this very scaffold!" (23.18)

The only place for Dimmesdale to escape Chillingworth is in public. Ironic, right? Hiding out, escaping to England, living in the forest—anywhere he tried to hide, Chillingworth would find him. But the moment he casts off his hypocrisy, he's free.

"Is not this better," murmured he, "than what we dreamed of in the forest?"

"I know not! I know not!" she hurriedly replied. "Better? Yea; so we may both die, and little Pearl die with us!" (23.18-23)

Uh, we're going to go with no. No, it is not better for all three of them to die at the scaffold rather than run off and start a new life in England. But to Dimmesdale, it actually is better. Poor man.

"Hadst thou sought the whole earth over," said he, looking darkly at the clergyman, "there was no one place so secret,—no high place nor lowly place, where thou couldst have escaped me,—save on this very scaffold!" (23.18)

Chillingworth was paying enough attention in church to hear the part about not cheating on your husband, but he evidently snoozed through the follow up: "judge not, lest ye be judged." Oops.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...

Advertisement
Noodle's College Search
Noodle's College Search
Advertisement
Advertisement