Dimmesdale in The Scarlet Letter and John Proctor from The Crucible

Powerful Essays
Men are nothing more than children. They still squabble and misbehave, and must be punished accordingly for their safety as well as the safety of others. Dimmesdale in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter and John Proctor from Arthur Miller’s The Crucible were guilty of adultery, or extramarital sex, among other crimes. Proctor was accused of witchcraft which could involve anywhere from controlling spirits to communing with the devil. Punishments for such crimes included flogging or whipping. Dimmesdale committed adultery and hid his guilt through lies. Proctor and Dimmesdale each suffered for their crime, but nothing compared to what they should have received. Proctor was chastised through separation from his family and ultimately death. Dimmesdale inflicted his punishment upon himself through whippings, vigils, fasts, blinding lights, etc. Dimmesdale’s punishments, while effective and warranted, were not performed by one appointed to do so in view of the public and God. Proctor and Dimmesdale were ultimately punished with death, but not even death was a proper punishment for their heinous crimes.

Before Dimmesdale’s untimely death in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, Dimmesdale committed the sins of adultery and lying. In order to keep his sins a secret, Dimmesdale spoke nothing of his involvement in the affair until it tore him apart from the inside out.When Dimmesdale tried to confess his sin to his congregation, they saw the confession as if it were part of his sermon. “He had spoken the very truth, and transformed it into the veriest falsehood”. (Hawthorne 171) Instead of correcting their assumption, Dimmesdale went along with it, once more hiding his sinfulness. When Dimmesdale finally confessed his sin openly...

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...oth scope and number. They died in the end, but did not receive the proper punishment beforehand to cleanse their souls for entrance to heaven.

Works Cited

Cox, James A. " The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation's Official History and Citizenship Website." The Colonial Williamsburg Official History & Citizenship Site. N.p., Spring 03. Web. 23 Nov. 2013. .
Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The Scarlet Letter. Enriched Classic ed. New York City: Simon & Schuster, 2004. Print.
Miller, Arthur. The Crucible. Student ed. Austin: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 2005. Print.
Phelps, Brian. "Crime and Punishment in the Massachusetts Colonies." Crime and Punishment in the Massachusetts Colonies. PhelpsTek, n.d. Web. 23 Nov. 2013. .
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