Good Vs Evil In The Crucible And The Scarlet Letter

Good Vs Evil In The Crucible And The Scarlet Letter

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"All conflict in literature is, in its simplest form, a struggle between good and evil." This means that all conflict in any work is basically just a fight between the forces of good and evil. The Crucible by Arthur Miller and The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne show that this statement is true.

The Crucible agrees with the lens because in Puritan society of 1692 in Salem, Massachusetts, hunts are being held to find those who have sinned and practice witchcraft but unfortunately innocent people are accused. The Crucible is set in Salem, Massachusetts and John Proctor, the protagonist, is a farmer who is found by his wife having an affair with a teenager. Throughout the play, John is trying to make the truth known to a court that has no interest in listening. The conflict in this story occurs when people are being falsely accused of practicing witchcraft for reasons such as revenge or the desire for another’s land. An example of this is Abigail’s desire to be with John Proctor. She wants to be with him so badly that she accuses his wife, Elizabeth Proctor, or “witchery” in order to marry John Proctor. “A man may think God sleeps, but God sees everything, I know it now. I beg you, sir, I beg you-see her what she is…She thinks to dance with me on my wife’s grave! And well she might, for I thought of her softly. God help me, I lusted, and there is promise in such sweat. But it is a whore’s vengeance…” This is a quote from Proctor when he is confessing to the court about his affair with Abigail in order to save his wife and the other innocent people who have been accused. Other examples include the part of the play where Giles tells the court that Putnam is killing his neighbors for their land. “…If Jacobs hangs for a witch he forfeit up his property-that’s law! And there is none but Putnam with the coin to buy so great a piece. This man is killing his neighbors for their land!” This is a quote from Giles Corey from when he claimed that Thomas Putnam was killing others for their land. The entire play was made to be a symbol of the anti-Communist “witch-hunts” of the 1950s, the time of the author, Arthur Miller. The themes in this play are hysteria, reputation, and intolerance.

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This is contradictory to the Puritan society because they came to Massachusetts in search of religious tolerance.

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne shows that the statement is true because in it a woman has committed adultery and is taunted and alienated by her community. The Scarlet Letter is set in mid-seventeenth century Boston, Massachusetts and Hester Prynne, the protagonist, is a person who has committed adultery and is to be punished for as long as she may live by wearing a scarlet “A” on her chest. The main conflict in this novel occurs when her husband, having inexplicably failed to join her in Boston following their emigration from Europe, Hester Prynne has an affair with Arthur Dimmesdale. When she gives birth to a child, the townspeople find out about this affair and Hester is forced by her community to wear a letter “A” for “adulterer.” She must also deal with the vengeful wrath of her husband, who has appeared in town just in time to witness her public humiliation. “…When the young woman—the mother of this child—stood fully revealed before the crowd, it seemed to be her
first impulse to clasp the infant closely to her bosom; not so much by an impulse of motherly affection, as that she might thereby conceal a certain token, which was wrought or fastened into her dress. In a moment, however, wisely judging that one token of her shame would but poorly serve to hide another, she took the baby on her arm, and with a burning blush, and yet a haughty smile, and a glance that would not be abashed, looked around at her townspeople and neighbours. On the breast of her gown, in fine red cloth, surrounded with an elaborate embroidery and fantastic flourishes of gold thread, appeared the letter A…” This is a quote from the beginning of the novel when Hester Prynne comes out of the prison doors and we see the scarlet letter for the first time. Some people feel that she will be able to cover up the letter with a pin or something of that nature and act as if it isn’t there while others feel that the scarlet letter will be burned into her heart forever. “…‘The magistrates are God-fearing gentlemen, but merciful overmuch—that is a truth,’ added a third autumnal matron. ‘At the very least, they should have put the brand of a hot iron on Hester Prynne’s forehead. Madame Hester would have winced at that, I warrant me. But she—the naughty baggage— little will she care what they put upon the bodice of her gown Why, look you, she may cover it with a brooch, or such like, heathenish adornment, and so walk the streets as brave as ever’ ‘Ah, but,’ interposed, more softly, a young wife, holding a child by the hand, ‘let her cover the mark as she will, the pang of it will be always in her heart.’…” This quote appears before Hester comes out of the prison doors. Here the townspeople are talking about her and apparently they feel that the scarlet letter wasn’t enough. The main symbols in this novel are the scarlet letter, the meteor, Pearl, and the rosebush outside the prison doors. The scarlet letter is meant to be a symbol of shame, but instead it becomes a powerful symbol of identity to Hester. The letter’s meaning changes as the story progresses. Originally intended to mark Hester as an adulterer, the “A” eventually comes to stand for “Able.” Finally, it becomes vague: the Native Americans who come to watch the Election Day Pageant think it marks her as a person of importance and status. The letter is a physical reminder of Hester’s affair with Dimmesdale. As Dimmesdale stands on the scaffold with Hester and Pearl, a meteor traces out an “A” in the sky. To Dimmesdale, the meteor implies that he should wear a mark of shame just as Hester does. The community, however, thinks that it stands for “Angel” and that it marks Governor Winthrop’s entry into heaven. Pearl is a living version of the scarlet letter. She is the result of the affair. Pearl is more than a mere punishment to her mother, even though she is a reminder of Hester’s sin. Pearl is also a blessing. She symbolizes not only the “sin” but also the vital spirit and passion that caused that sin. Pearl’s existence gives her mother reason to live. She keeps Hester’s spirits up when she is tempted to give up. The rosebush symbolizes a little bit of hope in a world of sin and guilt. The rosebush is said to probably offer its beauty to a criminal as he enters the prison doors and is also a way of nature’s taking pity on this criminal before he suffers his horrible fate. The themes in this novel are sin, experience, and the human condition, the nature of evil, and identity and society.

Both these works show the struggle between good and evil. In The Crucible by Arthur Miller, the protagonist, John Proctor, finds himself in a great deal of conflict when dealing with those who falsely accuse others of witchcraft. In The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Hester Prynne, is humiliated and alienated by her community when she is found out to be an adulterer.
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