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.