Comparing The Crucible, By Arthur Miller And The Scarlet Letter By Nathaniel Hawthorne

900 Words4 Pages

Puritan communities are extremely stiff and strict. Their belief system was built upon the fear of sin. They attempted to oust sin from their societies entirely which is nearly impossible. This resulted in a society obsessed with punishing sinners and filled with hypocrisy. In the novel’s The Crucible by Arthur Miller and The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne the authors express their opinions on the faults in this belief system.
Hawthorne and Miller share an extremely close viewpoint of “the outsider” within both novels. They believe that an outsider is someone who is rejected by the community without just reasoning. In Hawthorne’s novel this is evident through Hester Prynne’s circumstance. She is shunned by her community for committing …show more content…

In both books a character is persecuted for sinning which in puritan societies is unredeemable; sin is sin. Hawthorne uses his book to refute this ideology while Miller, who is disgusted by sin, allows for some sort of forgiveness. In The Scarlet Letter Hawthorne uses Dimmesdale and Prynne’s circumstances to show this contrast. Prynne who confesses to her sins and lives a life helping other feels the slow, gentle redemption that follows while Dimmesdale who privately scolds himself for his sin falls apart. In chapter twelve the narrator states “Poor, miserable man! What right had infirmity like his to burden itself with crime? Crime is for the iron-nerved, who have their choice either to endure it, or, if it press too hard, to exert their fierce and savage strength for a good purpose, and fling it off at once” (Miller 101). Dimmesdale is a weak character and the narrator is commenting on how he cannot foist the blame upon himself because of this. This results in the collapse of Dimmesdale’s spirit and well-being. On the other hand, Prynne is a prime example of the philosophy the authors both support. That is the redemption from sin through good work and grace. In The Crucible sin is feared and viewed …show more content…

In both novels they use the idea of how it is human nature to be accepted no matter the cost. One key character who exemplifies this trait is Dimmesdale in Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter. During a sermon at the beginning of the novel he states, “What can thy silence do for him, except to tempt him---yea, compel him, as it were---to add hypocrisy to sin?”(Hawthorne 47). Dimmesdale knows, off the bat, the consequences that will be bestowed upon him if he endures his sin in secret but he is too weak of a man to confess. He goes to the church and preaches about how awful sin is but his need to be accepted and adored by his town shadow his duty to God. The seven years of mental torture and physical breakdown that follow are because of his own doings. Dimmesdale is selfish and knows that no secret punishment self-inflicted will gain him forgiveness but he continues for a temporary feeling of relief. As Dimmesdale craves acceptance from his town despite the lies he holds so does Mary Warren in Miller’s The Crucible. This is clear in the scene when Governor Dansforth is talking to her about the truth in court and she replies "I cannot lie no more. I am with God, I am with God," (Miller 95). Mary only tells the truth when she is under pressure and she is truly in belief that she has changed but this is just a mirage. When Abigail denies Mary’s claims and begins to accuse her of witchcraft, Mary hollers,

Open Document