Comparing The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthrone and The Crucible by Arthur Miller

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Comparing The Crucible and The Scarlet Letter

Two American authors, of two distinctly different time periods had one

very similar task, to turn a piece of American History into a believable tragedy.

Arthur Miller with The Crucible and Nathaniel Hawthorne with The Scarlet Letter.

Perhaps one might wonder which author did a better job in doing so, but with

such different pieces of work, this is hardly a question that can be answered.

Miller's the Crucible was written in the nineteen-fifties, with a

definite purpose, to remind Americans of the horrible witch trials that took

place in Salem, even before the American Revolution was a thought. It served as

a tool to warn against the same thing happening with the Communist hearings

going on in our country at the time it was written. Miller wrote a play, which

was not well received by the first audiences to witness it, but none the less is

now recognized as one the finest pieces of literature written by an American.

Hawthorne's the Scarlet Letter was written in the eighteen hundreds,

with no other purpose but for Hawthorne to write a novel. Hawthorne perhaps

chose this dark subject to convey his contempt for Puritanism. He was a man

preoccupied with the hidden sin which is illustrated in not only the Scarlet

Letter, but also in The Minister's Black Veil. One might even say that

Hawthorne's ancestry (Hathorne) is what he might consider his own "Pearl", and

this is why he changed his name.

Like Miller's the Crucible, The Scarlet Letter takes place in Puritan

Salem and has a tragic hero, but these are the only similarities between the two

great works.

In Miller's play, the tragic hero is John Proctor, a man whose pride

causes the demise of many women, tried as witches. Had Proctor chosen to reveal

his sin of lechery with Abigail Williams before the problem got out of hand, he

would've saved several women from being hanged. But Proctor, instead chose to

keep quiet about it until it was his own wife's destiny at stake, and then it

was too late.

In Hawthorne's novel, The tragic hero is Dimmesdale, who wouldn't admit

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