The Devil and Tom Walker Essay Example

In life, we tend to adapt to our situations, either to better our own lives or to deal with the stressful aspects that come with it. In both “The Devil and Tom Walker” and The Scarlet Letter the issue of identity shows itself in the characters Tom Walker and Roger Chillingworth. Both Tom and Roger experience an internal shift throughout their stories that results in the damnation of themselves from the public torment and ridicule and not the eternal salvation they had hoped for.

In “The Devil and Tom Walker,” the Devil presents Tom with a deal that results in his having to choose between never-ending wealth and his soul. After succumbing to the Devils persuasions Tom accepts on one extra condition; he becomes a slave trader. Now that Tom was a rich man, he spent his days as a cold-hearted slave trader who only cared about the betterment of his own life, spending an infinite amount of money on himself while never caring about others. Years pass, and Tom slowly creeps closer towards old age, he begins to regret the deal he made with the Devil. In hopes of saving his soul, he starts to read the bible and attend church. Tom Walker spent the majority of his life as a selfish and greedy man that had no care until it came down to his inevitable demise.

In the novel The Scarlet Letter, Roger Chillingworth is the no-good, self-absorbed husband to the main character, Hester Prynne. After sending her off to America, she gets pregnant and pledges to never reveal the identity of the father to anyone, including Chillingworth. This sends Chillingworth into an evil frenzy where he is determined to find out who the man is and exact his revenge. During his stay in America, he takes on a new persona to save himself from the ridicule of being known as the husband to an adulterer. While in his new facade, as a kind and helpful doctor, he befriends the man who he believes is the father to Hester’s child, Dimmesdale. In hopes to get revenge. Dimmesdale begins to confide in Chillingworth but never actually reveals that he is the father, which angers Chillingworth even more. Chillingworth later finds out that Hester, her daughter and, Dimmesdale had run away together, and to his dismay, his own secret identity never allowed him to get the vengeance he so readily staged with everyone. This information culminates in Chillingworth’s downfall, which ultimately contributed to his death shortly after. Chillingworth had no care for anyone, not even for his wife or her child. He lived a life where he believed he had the right to exploit everyone for his own personal gain. This, in the end, is what prompted his inevitable demise.

In addition to the statements made previously, we can further argue that in both “The Devil and Tom Walker” and The Scarlet Letter Chillingworth and Tom both find themselves dead because they had no care in the world except the progression of their own existence. They both lead manipulative lives where they adapted their false personalities in the hopes of saving themselves. Both characters, when surrounded by their self-made circumstances and paradoxical behaviors became viciously similar than previously considered.


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