The Scarlet Letter
The Scarlet Letter
by Nathaniel Hawthorne

The Scarlet Letter Chapter 23 Quotes Page 1

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(Chapter.Paragraph)

"Thou hast escaped me!" [Chillingworth] repeated more than once. "Thou hast escaped me!"

"May God forgive thee!" said the minister. "Thou, too, hast deeply sinned!" (23.28-29)

By now, the whole "I'm gonna get you" shtick that Chillingworth has been playing with for the last seven years seems to be less about exactly a well-deserved revenge than about playing some sort of sick cat-and-mouse game. Check out the word "escaped": Dimmesdale is going to expose his sin and die, but that's still not enough. The revenge has to be personal.

"Thou hast escaped me!" [Chillingworth] repeated more than once. "Thou hast escaped me!"

"May God forgive thee!" said the minister. "Thou, too, hast deeply sinned!" (23.28-29)

After Dimmesdale dies, we don't see what happens to Chillingworth. But we do get the feeling that, eventually, he realizes that he's done some bad things. Giving his fortune to Pearl feels a lot like an apology and a confession. Maybe there's hope for him after all.

Quote 3

Pearl kissed his lips. A spell was broken. The great scene of grief, in which the wild infant bore a part, had developed all her sympathies; and as her tears fell upon her father's cheek, they were the pledge that she would grow up amid human joy and sorrow, nor for ever do battle with the world, but be a woman in it. Towards her mother, too, Pearl's errand as a messenger of anguish was all fulfilled. (23.10-12; 30-32)

Seeing her father die turns Pearl from a wild "demon-child" determined to "do battle with the world" into a woman—which apparently means having human emotions like joy and sorrow. Aw, our little Pearl is all grown up.

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