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Word Count: 712
The characters in The Scarlet Letter deceive themselves by hiding their identities behind false truths which hinders their knowledge and understanding Nathaniel Hawthorne summarizes the necessity of honesty when Hester states In all things else I have striven to be true Truth was the one virtue which I might have held fast and did hold fast through all extremity a lie is never good even though death threaten on the other side 191 Honesty is crucial to life because lies limit self-growth Roger Chillingworths change from a scholar to someone obsessed with having revenge against the one who stole the love of his wife demonstrates how just limited a person can become When he visits Hester Prynne in the prison he is introduced as a wise intelligent man However hints of the person he will become are already being given Suspicious of his motives for keeping his identity a secret Hester asks her husband if he is the Black Man that haunts the forest round about us Hast thou enticed me into a bond that will prove the ruin of my soul Chillingworth tells her Not thy soul No not thine 71 When they speak to each other again seven years later Hester sees that the ruined soul is indeed not Hesters nor is it Dimmesdales it is Chillingworths soul that has decayed For so long his sole purpose has been to torture Dimmesdale and now Roger even looks like the devil he has become After Dimmesdales death All his strength and energy-all his vital and intellectual force-seemed at once to desert him insomuch that he positively withered up shriveled away and almost vanished from mortal sight like an uprooted weed that lies wilting in the sun 164 257 Chillingworth has allowed every other aspect of him to wither away in order to allow his contempt to control him Once his object of hate leaves he
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