those with which he habitually held converse (Hawthorne, 2 p 85). Amid Dimmesdales pure sentiments, Chillingworth gropes for an animal nature, stealing about in the ministers dim interior like a thief (Hawthorne, 2 pp 8990). Chillingworth is described as monsters of ancent Greece and Egypt misshapen and hunched. The emergence of corruption in his character fuels Dan Vogels comparison of Chillingworth to Miltons Satan, as both are highly intellectual, both are prideful, both suffer increasing physical ugliness as their inner evil waxes. The life of Robert Browning. Hawthornes knowledge of medical history encourages a more complex reading of Chillingworth than readers today have tended to produce, beginning with the possible influence of Robert Brownings dramatic poem. Paracelsuss aim to overthrow orthodox medical tradition was not unlike Brownings own aims as an emerging writer. Chillingworths practice of medicine is undoubtedly malevolent and invites sharp criticism. 14 Ministers and physicians were thought to occupy roles so complementary that, in some cases, ministers doubled as physicians. Folk medicine and history. 3rd ed New York: orton, 1988:28.
Hawthorne uses this allusion to intensify the elusiveness of Chillingworths character. Additionally, his familiarity with clinical medicine via his friendship with Oliver Wendell Holmes exposed him to the stoicism of experimental physicians; thus, it is reasonable to assume that Chillingworths ominous nature partly reflects Hawthornes first hand experience of medicine in the nineteenth century. For example, he grasps a "dark, flabby leaf found near a grave." All of this darkness denotes the presence of evil. This link to Paracelsus is the first historical layer inscribed upon Chillingworths character, and it is an ambiguous one. Hawthorne indicates that Chillingworth is initially respected by the townspeople of Boston, who had been exposed only to folk practitioners before his arrival. In fact, Chillingworth is not just a one-dimensional evil villain; hes the embodiment of, hawthornes theme about identity.
While Chillingworths villainy is unmistakable, his character has been misunderstood as purely evil, an oversimplification that ignores both the scope of his education and his scientific proficiency. Henceforth, Chillingworths stoical character resonates with festering hatred. An iatrochemist might do ill by malpractice, but a hostile herbalist may have the putative spiritual force of bad medicine at his/her disposal. OpenUrl PubMed Web of Science Foucault. In: Litzinger B, Smalley D, eds. In other words, Chillingworth isnt just Satan. New York: State University of New York Press, 1997:28. Homoeopathy and its kindred delusions. By considering the possible influence of Robert Brownings dramatic poem. Such an effect is achieved as Chillingworths stoical mask is broken by flashes of hatred.