Chapter 3 – The Recognition
There is a deformed man standing in the crowd and Hester recognizes him as
her husband. He enquires regarding Hester’s history and he vows that he will find out who the adulterer was, something that the rest of the community has failed to do.
The Reverend Mr. Dimmesdale pleads with Hester to name her
co-conspirator. He is clearly upset saying that her partner does not appear to have the courage to step forward and confess. This is followed by harsher demands by the Reverend Mr. Wilson and other
members of the crowd.
‘ “I will not speak!” answered Hester, turning pale as death, but responding to this voice, which she too surely recognized. “And my child must seek the heavenly father; she shall never know an earthly one”.’
Hester is then led back to prison.
With the entrance of the other two principal characters, tension starts to
mount in the story.
The deformed stranger is Hester’s husband and he has taken on a pseudonym,
Roger Chillingworth. In reality he is Roger Prynne.
The young Dimmesdale entreats Hester to reveal the adulterer and the reader
realizes that he is in fact Pearl’s father.
Further symbolism here is in the appearance of Chillingworth as a physically
deformed man who possesses an evil soul. This is another theme that develops in the novel.
Hawthorne quickly shows the reader that Chillingworth is obsessed with
finding out who has wronged him with a view to punishing the individual.
Dimmesdale’s dialogue is full of innuendo as he is the father of the infant
indicating that he is a coward, unable to reveal his sin to the congregation. He entreats Hester to name him so as to release him from his guilt and torment.