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Adversity In The Crucible

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“Adversity has the effect of eliciting talents which in prosperous circumstances would have lain dormant” (Horace). The idea that hard times elicit the development of certain aspects of a character, whether good or bad, is prevalent in literature, particularly The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne and The Crucible by Arthur Miller. Horace’s assertion is true in regard to the two texts in that they both contain characters who develop maturity and mercy, a new self-awareness, and cunning duplicity. The notion that adversity develops talents is shown in the characters of The Crucible and The Scarlet Letter who matured and developed an ability to forgive over the course of the plot. Hester Prynne in The Scarlet Letter demonstrated a subduing…show more content…
Modeled by Thee Scarlet Letter’s Dimmesdale and The Crucible’s John Proctor, this is encouraged by their own self-judgment as well as the judgement of those around them. . Dimmesdale’s morality and disdain for his own hypocrisy causes him to castigate himself, physically and emotionally, due to his own moral fiber and the emotional torture Chillingsworth conducts on him. He realizes how dishonest he has been towards his congregation, and proclaims that he should’ve “long ago have thrown off [his] garments of mock holiness”, and shown himself to the people as God will see him (Hawthorne 134). John Proctor experiences a similar personal realization. During the beginning of the play, he cannot understand why Elizabeth will not forgive him for his sin. However, during the emotional chaos of the trials, he begins to realize where she is coming from, and obsesses over his sin. He wonders “how [he may] live without [his] name” (Miller 1161). For the rest of the play he obsesses over not dying in ignominy, and sacrifices his life. He couldn’t stand the idea of tarnishing the martyrs of the others killed in the trials because he believes he deserves to die because of his heresy. The hardships these characters endure give them a new insight into their own…show more content…
Abigail Williams’s intentions when she dabbles in witchcraft are anything but innocent, as she is trying to kill Elizabeth Proctor after she was fired from the house when she learned about the affair with John and Abigail. However, after suspicions arise that she is a witch, she coerces the court into thinking several people of were witches to alleviate the blame from her. She paints herself as a worried, innocent girl who just wants to rid the town of evil, when on the inside she is dogmatic and manipulative, which causes her to indirectly sentence about twenty people to death. Her ruse starts when she needs to distract the people from her own iniquity and she spouts out a stream of accusations: “I saw Sarah Good with the Devil! I saw Goody Osburn with the Devil! I saw Bridget Bishop with the Devil” (Miller 1120). She even threatens to divulge her affair with John to the court because she thought it would make it more likely for Elizabeth to be convicted. Chillingworth’s character is just as vindictive, if not even more so, as Abigail. When he finds out that Hester has cheated on him, he is at first solely curious about who she cheated with. However, as he becomes further intertwined into Hester and Dimmesdale’s life, he becomes more
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