The Scarlet Letter
by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Roger Chillingworth Timeline and Summary
- Chillingworth appears on the outskirts of the crowd while Hester endures her ordeal on the pillory.
- He visits Hester in jail. He says he will find out the identity of her lover, and asks her not to reveal his true identity.
- Chillingworth insinuates himself into the upper echelons of society. He smells out guilt and becomes a special friend of the Reverend Dimmesdale.
- But somehow, he can never get Dimmesdale to confess what’s bothering him. Eventually, he manages to get a glimpse of Dimmesdale’s chest under his shirt, and he’s profoundly satisfied by what he sees over Dimmesdale’s heart—we later learn it’s a scarlet A like the one over Hester’s chest.
- When Hester sees Chillingworth, she is shocked at how anger and vengeance have disfigured him. She reveals that she plans to let Dimmesdale know that Chillingworth is her husband.
- Chillingworth must have some kind of supernatural cunning because he figures out that Dimmesdale and Hester plan to run away together. He books a passage on the same boat.
- Chillingworth dies a year after Dimmesdale and bequeaths all his money to Pearl. Perhaps it is his attempt to redeem himself.