The Scarlet Letter
by Nathaniel Hawthorne
The Scarlet Letter Revenge Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Chapter.Paragraph)
"Thou shalt forgive me!" cried Hester, flinging herself on the fallen leaves beside [Dimmesdale]. "Let God punish! Thou shalt forgive!" (17.18).
When Dimmesdale finds out that Chillingworth's mental manipulation is all part of a twisted plot to seek revenge on his wife's lover, he not too happy. Okay, maybe it's not as bad as adultery, but it's still a major betrayal. But he decides to listen to Hester and leave the vengeance to God. It's too bad Chillingworth didn't come up with the same plan.
"[…] That old man's revenge has been blacker than my sin. He has violated, in cold blood, the sanctity of a human heart. Thou and I, Hester, never did so!" (17.21)
We imagine Chillingworth's Evil To-Do List goes something like this: (1) Maniacally stroke cat; (2) Violate sanctity of human heart.
"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.