Who is the Greatest Sinner in The Scarlet Letter?
There are many sins committed in the novel The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorn, including many counts of adultery, witchcraft, and hatred. Despite the other's wrongdoing, one person stands out.Chillingworthis the greatest sinner in the novel.
Webster's defines sin as the “neglect of the laws of morality and religion.”The basis for the argument for the two other sinners in the book thrives off of their adultery.The reason these two cannot be called the greatest sinners is because they admitted and repented their sins.The Bible, the holy book the Puritan's studied, told that if they repent their transgression, they will be forgiven.Both Dimmesdale and Hester admitted their sins to the community and more importantly to their God.During their mortal lives, Hester is punished her entire life with the letter and Dimmesdale punishes himself by depriving himself of treatment and nourishment. The sinner in the book who never prays to his Lord for forgiveness should stand out as the greatest sinner. The sins committed by Mr. Chillingworth include his utter need for revenge.He is absolutely evil.He seems to torturepoor Dimmesdale while he lives with him.He taunts him when he speaks of some leaves he found near a grave;”They grew out of his heart, and typify it may be, some hideous secret that was buried with him, and which he had done better to confess during his lifetime.(pg131)”
When he realizes that Dimmesdale is the adulterer that he's been looking for, his face is twisted with joy and pure evil. Hawthorne describes the reaction of Chillingworth after he sees the mark; “Riotously manifest by the extravagant gestures with which he threw up his arms towards the ceiling, and stamped his foot upon the floor! Had a man seen old Roger Chillingworth, at that moment of his ecstasy, he would have had no need to ask how Satan comports himself, whe…