Clifford and Maule's Curse
I read in the Afterword to the 1981 Signet edition by Edward Sampson that Hawthorne intended Clifford to be the central figure in the book and I can't seem to figure out what he was trying to say. He was psychologically freed when Judge Pyncheon died but what are we supposed to make of his death? It seems these Pyncheons up and die whenever great land deals are about to go down. The original with the NE territory, the judges father when he is searching his drawers and the Judge when he is threatening to institutionalize Clifford. Are we supposed to believe that the characters actually died of a genetic disorder, the Maules curse, or do they kill eachother and perhaps that is Maules curse, that they should kill eachother off out of greed.
But what does this say about Clifford? Unless he killed the Judge he is just an innocent bystander until his enemy happened to keel over and he was freed. If he did kill the Judge then why was he freed of Maules curse? Why wasn't he doomed like the Judge to drink his blood?
The themes surrounding Phoebe/Holgrave and even Hepzibah are fairly clear, but I cant get a handle on Clifford.