The Scarlet Letter Chapter 10 Summary And Analysis
Chillingworth now has an attitude similar to a judge in search of truth and justice. He is now deeply obsessed with delving deeper into Dimmesdale’s heart. At times he feels like forcing the minister into opening up but resorts to his intelligent and passionate probing tactics.
For the better part of the chapter, Chillingworth is constantly pulling and tagging at Dimmesdale’s heart and soul. One day during their study, they hear Hester and Pearl’s voices coming from the graveyard. After a brief comment about Pearl’s absurd behavior, they continue their discussion Dimmesdale then affirms that it is better for Hester’s sin to be in the public domain rather than being a secret.
Chillingworth then tells Dimmesdale that one can never be healed if he harbors any secrets in his soul. Dimmesdale, however, insists that his sickness affects the soul and he cannot reveal his secret to a human physician.
One day as Dimmesdale was sleeping on a chair, Chillingworth comes into the room and stares at Dimmesdale’s chest then spontaneously dances ecstatically.
A Short Analysis of the Chapter 10
Chillingworth is more determined than ever to actualize his revenge and enhance the torment on Dimmesdale’s soul, but Dimmesdale believes it to be a spiritual affair. Though Chillingworth was formerly viewed as an upright man, his monstrous imagery and descriptions strengthen his symbolic manifestation as someone who is doing the devil’s work. He uses innuendos to manipulate the minister into confessing. That by confessing, Dimmesdale will free himself both in this life and in the hereafter.
Later on, as the minister is sleeping on a chair, Chillingworth discovers his dark secret. The enigmatic reference to Dimmesdale’s chest by Chillingworth shows a connection between body and soul. It is the external manifestation of the inner persona.