|“||Pious Master Dimmesdale! Can this be you? Well, well, indeed! We men of study, whose heads are in our books, have need to be straitly looked after! We dream in our waking moments, and walk in our sleep. Come, good Sir, and my dear friend, I pray you, let me lead you home!||„|
|~ Roger to Arthur|
Roger Chillingworth is the main antagonist of the novel The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne.
While not villainous, his psychological mistreatment of Arthur Dimmesdale showing the vengeful anti-villain that he was.
He is portrayed by the late Henry B. Walthall in the 1926 and 1934 film adaptation. On the 1995 film adaptation, he is portrayed by Robert Duvall.
Roger was married to Hester Prynne and he was presumed to be dead after being captured by Indians. However, he was escaped and moved to Boston, where he saw his wife, Hester, holding her child, Pearl, as she was sentenced to be wearing the "A" letter and be condemned by the public for having an adulterous affair. To keep his identity, he create his new identity Roger Chillingworth, an doctor. As Hester saw him, he tell her to not tell everyone that he is her husband and as he forgive her for cheating on him, he went on to get revenge on Hester's lover.
After being released from the prison, Hester and her daughter, Pearl, started a new life for themselves. Hester spend time sewing and involved in charities that help the poor. She heard that her daughter is about to taken from her and raised by foster parents. Feeling worry, Hester visiting the government and tell them not to take her daughter away from her. After hours of examination, Hester allowed to stay with her daughter. Roger, while taking care of Arthur Dimmesdale, knew that Arthur is Pearl's father and begin to torturing him psychologically for having an affair with Hester Prynne. He asked him about his life hoping to get the confession from Arthur. While Arthur is sleeping, Roger examined his body and knew that Arthur is having an affair with Hester Prynne, impregnated and abandoned her.
After the examination by Roger, Arthur begin to feel stricken with guilt for his affair with Hester and gave a sermon about the sin and confessing that he is a sinner, but no one listen. Arthur went on to self-harming himself by whipping his back as a punishment for his affair with Hester and in midnight went to a scaffold where Hester was standing to be shamed by the public, tried to confessing about his affair with Hester so he will be treated the same by the public, but no one listens as they were on the deathbed of the governor.
Hester spend time comforting the people that were sick or dying, finally earning the respect of the public that has shunned her. After seeing how Arthur is haunted by his sins, Hester feel sympathetic and knew that Roger is the one causing suffering to Arthur. She tell Roger to forgive Arthur and forget everything, but Roger refuses as he continues his revenge against Arthur. Feeling disappointed by Roger's psychological mistreatment of Arthur, Hester went on to tell Arthur about what Roger did to him in the forest and she reveals to him that she and Arthur, alongside Pearl, planned to leave Boston together so they can live together, though Arthur doesn't have strength to go with them.
Arthur is about to gave a big sermon in the Election Day. Hester find out that Roger is about to moving to the ship to following Arthur and Hester. Roger tried unsuccessfully to stop Arthur from confessing his affair with Hester, but it was unsuccessful as Arthur finally admits his affair with Hester, showing the "A" letter on his body and died in Hester's arms, causing Roger losing a chance for his revenge against Arthur. After the events shortly, Roger gave his will to Pearl before he took his last breath.