The Scarlet Letter
by Nathaniel Hawthorne
The Scarlet Letter Roger Chillingworth Quotes
"It was my folly! I have said it. But up to that epoch of my life, I had lived in vain. The world had been so cheerless! My heart was a habitation large enough for many guests, but lonely and chill and without a household fire. I longed to kindle one!" (4.18)
Aw. We could almost feel sorry for poor, lonely Chillingworth—except that he's about to prove himself a psycho-stalker.
“Here on this wild outskirt of earth, I shall pitch my tent; for, elsewhere a wanderer, and isolated from human interests, I find here a woman, a man, a child, amongst whom and myself there exist the closest ligaments.” (4.26)
Chillingworth and Hester do have some things in common, after all. Both hold a secret. Both are unhappy. Both have a very desirable skill (Chillingworth is a doctor and Hester is an amazing sewer). And both live on the outskirts of this Puritan society. You'd think they'd have a happier marriage.
“Peace, Hester, peace!” replied the old man, with gloomy sternness. “It is not granted me to pardon. I have no such power as though tallest me of. (…) Ye that have wronged me are not sinful, save in a kind of typical illusion; neither am I fiendlike, who have snatched a fiend’s office from his hands. It is our fate. Let the black flower blossom as it may. Now go thy ways, and deal as thou wilt with yonder man.” (14.32)
Okay, since the evil Chillingworth obviously thinks that he and everyone else are ruled by fate, we're going to go out on a limb and say that Hawthorne is coming down on the side of free will. He totally does have control of his actions.