Sin and Corruption of Puritan Society Illustrated in Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, Miller's The Crucible, and Bradstreet's To My Dear and Loving Hus

Good Essays
Puritans may have tried to give themselves the appearance of a perfect society, but it was really just as corrupt and full of sinners as any society today. In the Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Crucible by Arthur Miller and “To My Dear and Loving Husband” by Anne Bradstreet, there is evidence for this. In Puritan literature, although they try to hide it, sin is very common, in that Puritans do the opposite of what they preach, but still harshly punish those who sin.

Affairs are a common sin with the Puritans that cannot be kept secret, because of the Puritan stress on faithfulness and love in marriages and the negative view of divorce. Affairs are bountiful in Puritan society; even a minister, one who preaches sin, commits adultery. While Dimmesdale is talking about Hester, he says, “Neither can I any longer live without her companionship; so powerful is she to sustain-so tender to sooth” (Hawthorne 191). Not only did the minister commit this sin in the first place, but Dimmesdale is going to renew his affair, even though as a priest, he obviously knows it is against God’s will. Puritans try to hide adultery in order to seem sinless, and fit into the Puritan mold, but it is most often discovered. It becomes apparent that Elizabeth knows of her husband’s unfaithfulness when she asks, “John, if it were not Abigail that you must go to hurt, would you falter now? I think not” (Miller 54). Elizabeth is obviously aware of her husband’s disloyalty but even if it pains two people to stay married, they will not get a divorce, because that is against Puritan beliefs. Although, adultery is also against Puritan beliefs, but that doesn’t stop some sinners. These affairs are often discovered because Puritans so strongly believe in...

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...s sin secret and continue to be seen as a perfect sinless Puritan. The Puritans sin in attempt to clear their sin, which just contributes to deeper disobedience to God.

The Puritans might have had rules that made them seem superior to other societies, but they were not any better than anyone else. They are similar to the U.S. today, in having their systems, the way their society is supposed to work, and their culture, the way it actually works. The systems and the cultures should be the same, which is what would make the Puritans, or the United States be the perfect society. In reality though, there is a gap, and it makes the society almost worse for it, for having standards that it cannot meet and for preaching rules it does not follow.

Works Cited
Scarlett Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne

The Crucible, Arthur Miller

"To My Dear and Loving Husband", Anne Bradstreet