The Scarlet Letter

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The Scarlet Letter Chapter 4 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
When Hester and Pearl return to prison, Pearl cries uncontrollably. The prison guards allow a doctor in to help calm her. Posing as a physician, Roger Chillingworth enters and gives healing concoctions to Pearl and Hester. Hester fears Chillingworth might actually be poisoning her, but drinks his remedy.
Though Chillingworth and Dimmesdale both sin by abandoning Hester, only Hester endures punishment for sin. Outcast and alone with Pearl, Hester can't even trust her own husband.
Themes
Sin Theme Icon
Individuality and Conformity Theme Icon
Chillingworth forgives Hester for betraying him. He asks her to tell him the identity of the father, but once again she refuses. He then asks Hester to protect his identity by swearing never to identify him as her husband. Hester remains suspicious of Chillingworth and thinks she might be sealing her own doom by agreeing to keep his secret, but does it anyway.
Hester hides Dimmesdale and Chillingworth's identities to protect them. Dimmesdale and Chillingworth conceal their own identities to protect themselves. Though a "sinner," Hester is selfless.
Themes
Sin Theme Icon
Individuality and Conformity Theme Icon