Roger Chillingworth, Hester's husband, makes it his mission to conceal his true identity so that he can become a close adviser and physician to Reverend Dimmesdale, and find out his darkest secrets. He is known as "The Leech," and seems to be sucking the energy out of Dimmesdale's spirit.
Only secretive things happen in the dark in the novel: Dimmesdale, Pearl, and Hester unite as a family on the scaffold; Dimmesdale and Hester make plans to run away to Europe together in the woods. Meanwhile, Chillingworth lurks in the darkness and shadows, awaiting any opportunity to reveal Hester's lover and get his revenge.
Hester commits the sin of adultery, and she pays the price by being publicly shamed. She is shunned by the community for many years, and she and Pearl live a life of isolation.