In the novel the Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne a major theme that is addressed is revenge. The main conflict is between the characters Reverend Dimmsedale and Roger Chillingsworth. The problem that surrounds them is that Dimmsedale have a sexual relationship with Hester Prynne resulting in a baby girl, what is weird is that Chillingsworth comes into town the day that Hester is sentenced for public humiliation. When Chillingsworth finally speaks he has to help heal his step- daughter. He then tells Hester not to say anything about his true identity.
Dimmsedale wants to give away his secret about their relationship but knows it will bring about the downfall of Hester and himself. He also has to speak on the behalf of pearl because the elders threatened to take away Hesters baby for being a product of the devil. Now Chillingsworth has the task of finding out who the father of the baby is and to seek revenge on that person. Dimmsedale has been eating him self up over the humiliation that Hester has to suffer because of a night of passion. Unknowingly Chillingsworth becomes the doctor of the sinner.
Throughout the book Chillingsworth slowly discovers the secret of who the father of his daughter is. Hesters “A” is now not recognized as Adultery it is now seen as Able because she has been helping the poor and she considers her self a sister of mercy. This the people see as her way of repenting and do not exclude her anymore. As part of her punishment and revenge of the town Hester is forced to wear an A. They see that she really wants to go to heaven and is repenting. At the governors office Hester has been asked to make a pair of gloves for a special occasion.
Hesters skills for sewing have been known throughout the town and she is the one that makes all the embroidery and clothes. At the mansion Hester has learned that they are planning on taking Pearl away from her because they think that she has the devil in her. The elders proceed to ask Pearl a number of questions about who her father is and were she came from. The elders then decide to take Pearl but in one final plea she asks Dimmsedale to try to purse way the elders. Chillingsworth is also in the crowd. Eventually Dimmsedale gets the elders on his side and they let her keep Pearl.
Pearl is Hesters punishment and joy. When Hester and Dimmsedale meet in the woods for the last time when they plan to leave for England, when Dimmsedale returns to his house Chillingsworth offers him medicine and he refuses it. At this point Chillingsworth realizes that Dimmsedale knows and has to expose Dimmsedale for who he really is. This way Chillingsworth will finally reek his havoc on Dimmsedale. In the prison baby Pearl has come down with a very bad cough, the jailor summoned the new doctor to the prison to treat Pearl.
This scene of the novel Chillingsworth speaks to Hester of how he was foolish to let her go to the new world without the accompany of a man. Hester asks why he does not announce her publicly and cast her off. This is were Chillingsworth true evil first starts to appear. His true quest for finding out the identity of the farther is for pure revenge. Chillingsworth decides to treat Dimmsedale because day by day he is slowly dying. At this point in time Chillingsworth has no idea about the relationship Hester and he had 7 years ago.
The townspeople are realizing that Dimmsedale is not fit for this world and think that Dimmsedale is a saint and will die very shortly. Chillingsworth earns the name of a leech because it seems that everywhere Dimmsedale is Chillingsworth is right behind him watching his every move. An example is when he is up on the scaffold and sits with Hester and Pearl and is worried about someone seeing them and sure enough Chillingsworth is right there and offers to take him home. Chillingsworth is starting to suspect something going on with his former wife and the good reverend.
When Hester and Dimmsedale meet in the woods for the last time when they plan to leave for England, when Dimmsedale returns to his house Chillingsworth offers him medicine and he refuses it. At this point Chillingsworth realizes that Dimmsedale knows and has to expose Dimmsedale for who he really is. That night Dimmsedale re writes his sermon that he was going to deliver on election day. Dimmesdale acts like a new man because he has been changed from deciding to go to England with Hester. During the ceremony the listen to his sermon and feel very enlightened and think that it is the best sermon they have ever heard.
Dimmesdale realizes that he is about to die and feels that he must come clean. Chillingsworth notices this and screams “though hast escaped me” recognizing that he is coming clean and does not get to torment him anymore. In conclusion Chillingsworth was not known to be the devil but sure seemed to be his advocate and would not stop at all in his conquest to destroy the reputation of such a well known name in the town. There is always a constant presence of revenge lurking in the air having the reader never know when Chillingsworth might start to expose Dimmsedale for who he really is.