The Scarlet Letter
How we cite our quotes:
Hester Prynne was now fully sensible of the deep injury for which she was responsible to this unhappy man, in permitting him to lie for so many years, or, indeed, for a single moment, at the mercy of one, whose purposes could not be other than malevolent. (17.23)
Oh, Hester. First, she has an extramarital affair with the town pastor, and then she makes it worse by letting her husband persecute him. Can the girl do anything right?
"Be it sin or no," said Hester Prynne bitterly, as she still gazed after him, "I hate the man!"
"Yes, I hate him!" repeated Hester, more bitterly than before. "He betrayed me! He has done me worse wrong than I did him!" (15.2-4)
You go, girl! Here, Hester has finally realizes that she's not the community's wrongdoer. Chillingworth has a lot of sin to answer for, too—like, convincing this young, beautiful woman to marry his old, scholarly, crippled self. (And then sending her all alone to the New World; not nice.)
"We are not, Hester, the worst sinners in the world. There is one worse than even the polluted priest! 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!" (17.31)
Check out the way that Dimmesdale talks about Chillingworth "violating" the "sanctity of a human heart." To us, that sounds a lot like a type of rape: Chillingworth has psychologically raped Dimmesdale. Which, yeah, that sounds pretty sinful.