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He violates Dimmesdale's heart and soul to see how he will react. Eventually when Hester talks with him about whether Dimmesdale's debt has been paid, Chillingworth says that it would have been better had he died than endure seven years of vengeance.Hawthorne also uses Hester to show what has happened to Chillingworth in isolating himself from humanity.
He has, indeed, spent his life as a lonely scholar, cutting himself off when necessary in the quest for knowledge from the world of other men.
This study of herbs and medicines later links his work to the "black medicine" and helps him keep his victim alive.
He was "kind, true, just, and of constant, if not warm affections." But now she tells him that he is a fiend, bent on Dimmesdale's destruction. He enters Dimmesdale's heart "like a thief enters a chamber where a man lies only half asleep." By Chapter 14, when Hester meets him in the forest, Chillingworth has a blackness in his visage and a red light showing out of his eyes, as if "the old man's soul were on fire, and kept on smoldering duskily within his breast." In seeking vengeance, he has taken on the devil's job.
His obsession with revenge is what makes him — in Hawthorne's eyes — the worst sinner and, therefore, a pawn of the devil.
It is appropriate that Hester meets him in the dark forest, a place the Puritans see as the abode of the Black Man.
This man of science, so lacking in sentiment, is coldly and single-mindedly seeking what is only God's prerogative: vengeance.
As a paragon of this group, Chillingworth lives in a world of scholarly pursuits and learning.
Even when he was married to Hester, a beautiful, young woman, he shut himself off from her and single-mindedly pursued his scholarly studies.
His love of learning and intellectual pursuit attracts Dimmesdale. Hawthorne says, "there was a fascination for the minister in the company of the man of science, in whom he recognized an intellectual cultivation of no moderate depth or scope; together with a range and freedom of ideas that he would have vainly looked for among the members of his own profession." This love of wisdom is what will draw the two men together, thus facilitating Chillingworth's plans.
In Chillingworth, Hawthorne has created the "man of science," a man of pure intellect and reason with no concern for feelings. In Chapter 9, Hawthorne describes the scarcity of Chillingworth's scientific peers in the New World: "Skillful men, of the medical and chirurgical profession, were of rare occurrence in the colony." These men of science have lost the spiritual view of human beings because they are so wrapped up in the scientific intricacies of the human body.