Comparing Evil In Thescarlet Letter And Moby Dick, By Herman Melville

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In every novel, there is an evil that manifests and causes conflict. In TheScarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Moby Dick, by Herman Melville,that evil is found in Roger Chillingworth and Captain Ahab, respectively. Mr.Chillingworth and Captain Ahab prove their villainy in many similar waysthroughout the novels they are featured in.The first similarity between Roger Chillingworth and Captain Ahab lies intheir motive: revenge. When Mr. Chillingworth heard that his wife, HesterPrynne, had committed adultery with Arthur Dimmsdale, Chillingworth slowlypoisoned Dimmsdale, keeping him just alive enough to shame himself. Similarly,Captain Ahab made it his mission to hunt and kill Moby Dick after the whitewhale ate his leg. The characters’ desire for vengeance dooms them.Chillingworth withers away and dies after the death of Dimmsdale, and Ahab dieswhile battling Moby Dick.Another similarity between Chillingworth’s and Ahab’s evil is that they areboth driven mad by their obsessions and desire for revenge. They both recognizetheir insanity but can do nothing about it. Chillingworth, while talking to HesterPrynne on the shores of Boston, accepts his demented personality as fate. CaptainAhab tells his second in command, Starbuck, that he knows he has gone mad; heclaims that it is to late to change or turn back now when the ship has been gonefor months.

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