Study Guide

The Scarlet Letter Chapter 4

By Nathaniel Hawthorne

Chapter 4

The Interview

  • In the prison, the baby is upset. We wonder why? Oh, maybe because the baby is in a PRISON.
  • The stranger shows up, telling everyone that he's a doctor named Roger Chillingworth.
  • Ooh. Is it cold in here? Did someone just open a window?
  • Chillingworth is left alone with Hester, we are shocked—okay, actually not that shocked—to find out that he's her long-lost husband. Cue the dramatic music.
  • He gives both the baby and Hester medicine to help them sleep and to take away whatever pain they feel.
  • Uh, Hester? Maybe you should be careful about taking something from your absentee husband who's just shown up to find out that you've been stepping out on him.
  • Hester thinks so, too.
  • No, no, Chillingworth says: he plans to keep her alive so she can keep on feeling the shame of the scarlet letter.
  • Nice guy.
  • Anyway, he's done wrong, too. Sure, Hester cheated on him, but Chillingworth should have known better than to imprison a youthful beauty like Hester in a marriage to an elderly, misshapen man.
  • In any case, he's going to ferret out the identity of her lover. Meanwhile, he wants her to keep his identity a secret.
  • For some reason, she agrees to this.

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