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The Nature of Man

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Essay title: The Nature of Man

Both Nathaniel Hawthorne in The Scarlet Letter and Joseph Conrad in Heart of Darkness suggest that evil is the nature of mankind and explore the depths of man. Through the characters of The Scarlet Letter and Heart of Darkness Hawthorne and Conrad tell us what a frightening thing it is to think of what man would sink to without the accountability of society.

In The Scarlet Letter evil, in its most poisonous form, is found in the carefully plotted and precisely aimed revenge of Chillingworth, whose love has been perverted. At first Chillingworth seems to be more of a recipient of the actions of sinners than an actual sinner himself. After all, he was held captive by the Indians for a year, and then returns to civilization to see that his wife is standing on the town scaffold telling him to pretend he doesn't know her. Midway through the novel the audience's view of the character changes dramatically. The major turning point is when we find out to what extent Chillingworth will go through to find personal information about his patient, Dimmesdale. Chillingworth really commits two major sins. His first sin is against Hester. He committed it when he married her and took away her youth.

Chillingworth's second, and far more evil sin, is tricking the heart of a fellow man and sacrificing a friendship to gratify his own selfishness. What Chillingworth does is befriend the good Reverend and become his doctor. Chillingworth notices that something more than physical is wrong with him. He starts to dig deeper and deeper until he finds what he is looking for, but not without destroying Dimmesdale's life even more. As Chillingworth probes farther into Dimmesdale's life, he resembles the devil more and more.

By Chapter 14, Chillingworth's transformation seems to be complete, and Chillingworth becomes aware of what has happened. It is too late to change who he is and who he has become. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, the worst sinner and the most evil is old Roger Chillingworth. He is flat out pure evil. Chillingworth’s death is a result of the nature of his character. After Dimmesdale dies, Chillingworth no longer has a victim. Similarly, Dimmesdale’s revelation that he is Pearl’s father removes Hester from the old man’s clutches. Having lost the objects of his revenge, the leech has no choice but to die.

In Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad explores the depths

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