The Scarlet Letter Chapter 4 Summary And Analysis
Hester is now in a state of uneasiness after being taken back to her prison cell. Meanwhile, Pearl is experiencing painful convulsions. Roger Chillingworth makes his way to the prison cell where Hester is incarcerated. Ester becomes frightened immediately he sees him, but Chillingworth gives Pearl some medicine that instantaneously relieves her pain. Chillingworth then convinces Hester to take a sedative drink to calm her nervousness. Both of them sit down and talk deeply & sympathetically about how each of them bears some blame for the adulterous affair.
Even though Chillingworth has forgiven Hester, he is determined to know Pearl’s true father. He swears that although the anonymous man is not wearing a scarlet A on his clothing like Hester, he is going to read it within his heart. Chillingworth then makes Hester vow to never uncover his identity. Hester reluctantly makes the promise but is afraid that this oath might destroy her soul.
An Analysis of the Chapter 4
In this chapter, Hawthorne places Chillingworth and Hester together in order to inform the reader of their relationship to one another as well as their attitudes. This can be seen through their dialogue. After reading the prosaic events in chapter 3, this dialogue only reinforces the dramatic story of the previous chapter.
A better understanding of Chillingworth can also be gained in this chapter. Chillingworth offers a preview of the person he has been as well as the person he is to become. He has always been called a scholar. Hawthorne admits he neglected his wife due to his obsession with education. However, we can also observe his vengeful determination to discover the man who robbed him of his wife.
It can also be observed that Hester is honest about her love for Pearl’s true father. She even swears to keep Chillingworth’s secret due to her worry for Dimmesdale, rather than loyalty to her marriage.