Comparing The Scarlet Letter By Nathaniel Hawthrone And The Crucible By Arthur Miller

1407 words - 6 pages

    When the topic of a Puritanical society is brought up, most people think of a rigorous, conservative, highly devout society. While this may have usually been the case, this was not always so. The Puritan society was also known not to act out of Christian love, but to cruelly lash out at those who sinned or were deemed unfit for society. Two works of literature that display both aspects of this society very accurately are The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel  Hawthorne, and The Crucible, by Arthur Miller. The Scarlet Letter displays a society that treats two people very differently who commit the sin of adultery together. The woman, Hester Prynne, admits her sin, is forced to always wear a scarlet letter A on her bosom, and is ostracized from society. The man, Reverend Dimmesdale, hides his sin from the world, is almost worshipped by the townspeople, but is filled with the shame of his action. Hawthorne illustrates how insensitive a Puritan society can be to those who admit their wrong doings. The Crucible is a play that tells the story of the famous witchcraft trial in Salem, Massachusetts. In the story, Abigail Williams, the orphaned niece of the town's minister, Reverend Parris, is the main person who accuses people of sending their spirits into her and the other girls. What begins with children dancing in the woods leads to the accusation and execution of many innocent people for witchcraft. The two works of literature have very similar qualities, including setting, conflict, and general aspects of the characters, while there are also specific parallels between characters, such as Abigail and Hester, and Parris and Dimmesdale.

 

            The settings in both The Scarlet Letter and The Crucible are similar in many ways. The Scarlet Letter takes place around the 1640s, as the The Crucible occurs in 1692. The time period is very important in both pieces, because it is a time of religious intolerance and a conservative attitude pervades in New England, where both works of literature take place. This Puritan setting is also very important in both works of literature. The reason behind the townspeople persecuting sinners is because of the Puritan beliefs of the time period. This is the driving force between the actions of the characters. The setting of a religiously intolerant village is also the main reason behind the conflict that lies in each plot.

 

The conflicts in both works of literature are also similar. They are both caused by the same thing, the excessively devout town in which the setting takes place. The conflict in The Scarlet Letter that occurs between Dimmesdale, Hester, and Chillingworth is caused by the town's lack of tolerance for sinners. Hester's life is spent in complete loneliness because of the way the town treats her. Chillingworth, Hester's husband, is like most of the townspeople, because he feels the need to punish and inflict pain on sinners, especially those who have personally harmed him....

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