The Scarlet Letter
by Nathaniel Hawthorne
The Scarlet Letter Roger Chillingworth Quotes
"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)
Dimmesdale finds forgiveness, though not from Chillingworth. Chillingworth admits that Dimmesdale has escaped his revenge. Is Chillingworth capable of forgiveness at this point?
"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.
As he spoke, he laid his long forefinger on the scarlet letter, which forwith seemed to scortch into Hester’s breast, as if it had been red-hot. He noticed her involuntary gesture, and smiled. “Live, therefore, and bear about thy doom with thee, in the eyes of men and women—in the eyes of him thou didst call thy husband—in the eyes of yonder child! And, that thou mayst live, take off this draught.” (4.13)
Does Chillingworth remind anybody else of the evil Queen in Snow White or of Yzma in The Emperor's New Groove? The interesting thing is that instead of killing people, Chillingworth keeps them alive. He wants Hester and Dimmesdale to be as healthy as can be so they can feel their punishment and the judgment of others as fully as possible. Even though he’s constantly being called the Devil in this story, Chillingworth is all about life and health.