In the second part of the first half of Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, we see the coming together of two unlikely individuals: Roger Chillingworth and Reverend Dimmesdale. These gentlemen become twisted together like two gnarled vines. The "Leech" and his ailing patient feed off of each other in detailed chapters involving theology and science as sparring gloves.
"A bodily disease, which we look upon as whole and entire within itself, may, after all, be but a symptom of some ailment in the spiritual part." This quote from Chillingworth bores down on Dimmesdale, with the former baring his suspicion on the latter regarding the truthfulness about his illness.
In these chapters, we see not only the jabs back and forth regarding Dimmesdale's spirituality versus his psychological sickness as well as Chillingworth's physical deformity versus his gnawing revenge. It is my opinion that if these two men were given time together, but not cohabitating together, that Dimmesdale's weary body would give out from his sickly demeanor before Chillingworth and his revenge would consume him and spiral out of control.