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

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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 ...

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...ately. Because of this accuracy, naturally they have many parallels. Both have similar conflicts, settings, and characters. The fact that they have so many parallels is probably the reason why both are considered outstanding works of literature. They both contain the same element of truth and accuracy of the Puritan society and will most likely survive as great works of literature.

Works Cited and Consulted

Abel, Darrel. The Moral Picturesque: Studies in Hawthorne’s Fiction. West Lafayette: Purdue, 1988.

Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The Scarlet Letter. New York: St. Martins, 1991.

Hayes, Richard. "Hysteria and Ideology in The Crucible." Commonweal 57. Feb. 1953. 11 Nov. 1999.

Miller, Arthur. The Crucible. New York: Viking, 1953.

Scharnhorst, Gary. The Critical Response to Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter. New York: Greenwood, 1992.
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