ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Who is the Guiltiest Sinner? The Scarlet Letter

Updated on August 17, 2008

In the Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, there are three main sinners. They are Hester Prynne, Arthur Dimmesdale, and Roger Chillingworth. These three people all commit terrible sins including revenge, adultery, and murder. Of these sinners, Roger Chillingworth is the guiltiest of them all, and this is because he never felt remorse for the terrible things he did throughout the novel. Chillingworth sins were aimed to bring pain and suffering to others whereas Hester's and Dimmesdale's sin was a sin of passion, and was never meant to hurt anyone.

All throughout the novel Hawthorne discusses the idea of sin and redemption. Hester is shown to be the least sinful of the three people because she is redeemed by the fact that she must wear the scarlet letter for the rest of her life if she is to remain in the Puritan town because she committed the sin of adultery. Dimmesdale is more sinful than Hester because it takes him so long to confess his sin to the town. Dimmesdale is cowardly because he is afraid of the townspeople and of what they may do to him for his sin. He is also naïve because he fears the town more than he fears God even though he is a minister in Puritan times. Although Dimmesdale is a coward for not confessing his sin until he is close to the end he still shows remorse by lashing himself for his sin of adultery, and by helping Hester and Pearl by aiding Hester in persuading the Governor to let her keep Pearl. In addition, both Hester and Dimmesdale have the constant reminder of their sin because of Pearl who forces the issue upon them by always asking questions like what the scarlet letter stands for and if Dimmesdale will ever stand on the scaffold with her and her mother during the day in front of the town. Dimmesdale believes he has a reason to hide his sin; if he were to confess his sin the town may lose all hope of good, and may have became overrun by sin and evil.

Chillingworth, however, comes into the town and from the moment that he sees his wife has cheated on him he declares that he will seek revenge on the man that shares her sin. When Chillingworth suspects Dimmesdale he moves in with him, under the pretense of being his physician, and begins giving Dimmesdale different herbs and "medicines" to "help" with Dimmesdale's health. While Chillingworth is living with Dimmesdale, he asks many personal questions to try to find out if Dimmesdale is the one that he is seeking. Chillingworth becomes a "leech" and begins sucking the life out of the poor minister. At one point in the novel Chillingworth looks at Dimmesdale's chest and does a devilish dance at the sight. Chillingworth's vengeance becomes an obsession and drives him to make Dimmesdale's health get worse faster by giving him the so-called medicine, and by making Dimmesdale feel so guilty that it drives him insane. Chillingworth tries to play God by deciding who should be punished, and ends up turning into the "Black Man," or the Devil.

Hester and Dimmesdale committed a sin that did not intentionally hurt anyone but their own souls, but Chillingworth committed a sin that was purposefully hurting another human being physically and emotionally. Sins of passion are not on the same magnitude as sins of vengeance. Murder and adultery are not on the same level. Hester and Dimmesdale both showed remorse for their sins. Hester and Dimmesdale were both punished by society and both punished themselves. Chillingworth did not feel that he ever did anything wrong even though his sins were worse that those of the person he sought revenge upon. Chillingworth was never punished by society or and he never sought repentance. Chillingworth was the guiltiest sinner in the Scarlet Letter.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Yuhhhhh mah Allah bless you

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      thanks a lot for the valuable essay

      i really like it and it will be helpful n my tomorrow's exam

      May Allah bless you


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)