Genova1B12/21/17Moral of the StoryDuring these time periods, representing one’s morality is just as important on the inside than on the outside. The Scarlet Letter and The Crucible have many similarities even when being written in different eras. One could look at the characters in each story and find two of them unexpectedly similar. John Proctor and Arthur Dimmesdale are exceptionally similar characters due to the fact both have committed adultery, realizing what they have done and their mistakes, which has created guilt and fear of ruining and losing their name. In order to save or keep their name, each character must confess for what they have done wrong and face all the consequences. John Proctor is The Crucibles’ tragic hero who is an honorable townsmen and he is an honest, blunt-spoken, and determined man with one flaw.
His weakness and lust for Abigail Williams led to an affair and him cheating on his wife, Elizabeth Proctor. After Proctor confessed to his wife, she still was stubborn and worried about him committing adultery again, “Spare me! You forget nothin’ and forgive nothin’. Learn charity, woman. I have gone tiptoe in this house all seven month since she is gone.” (Miller, 54). As Proctor says this, he is filled with aggravation because she has not shown forgiveness towards him for what he has done even after he has confessed trying to save his sinful name to his wife. Committing adultery in Salem during this time period is absolutely unaccepted in society. It is not accepted in society because it is one of the ten commandments and must be followed.
Salem is a highly religious town and people are expected to attend church regularly and Proctor who is towards the top of the social scale, does not attend church on a regular basis. Unfortunately Proctor isn’t the only person who does not follow the rules of religion. Arthur Dimmesdale is The Scarlet Letters unmarried pastor who is a secret sinner. Dimmesdale has made a child with lead female character, Hester Prynne whose husband was away for 7 years. His flaw was his lust for Hester Prynne, even though she was legally married and he was the towns pastor. Dimmesdale believes in victimless sin, where one committing a sin is not just one person’s fault, “If thou feelest it to be for thy soul’s peace, and that thy earthly punishment will thereby be made more effectual to salvation, I charge thee to speak out the name of thy fellow-sinner and fellow-sufferer!”(3.26). Dimmesdale is the towns pastor and has done a lot for the community and for the people.
As he committed adultery in the town of Boston, religion plays a huge factor in this as Puritans view this sin as one of the worst of them all. Proctor feels full of guilt for ruining the trust with his wife and wants to put an end to the shame he is feeling. Proctor, feeling full of guilt for what he has done, he visits Abigail and says, ”Abby, you’ll put it out of mind. I’ll not be comin’ for you more. You know me better.
I may think of you softly from time to time. But I will cut off my hand before I’ll ever reach for you again. Wipe it out of mind.”(Miller, 23).
As Proctor says this he is prominent in the words he says to Abigail and is trying to make it clear that he will never lay a finger of lust on her ever again for the sole purpose of trying to remove that guilty feeling. Another man that has a similar situation has been full of guilt and has affected him in a negative way. Dimmesdale could not take all the regret and guilt building up in his head and his daughter constantly wondering who her father was, so he confessed to her the truth. When Dimmesdale was revealing the truth to his daughter, Dimmesdale says, “At the great judgment day,” whispered the minister—and, strangely enough, the sense that he was a professional teacher of truth impelled him to answer the child so.
“Then, and there, before the judgment seat, thy mother, and thou, and I, must stand together. But the daylight of this world shall not see our meeting!”(Hawthorne, 145). Dimmesdale wants this mess to be taken out of his hands eventually and wants to stand with his family truthfully, but doesn’t believe he has the willpower to reveal himself to the everyone at the moment. As the guilt was growing more and more everyday, fear was rising as well and it took over their everyday lives and Dimmesdale wants to be set free and let go of his sin, but so does Proctor.Men during this time period were put to shame for committing adultery and their innocent name was taken from them.
Proctor had a high status in the town of Salem and realized that could jeopardize his name and honor he carries. Proctor confessed his wrongdoing in a court trial and is given the option of confessing, signing his name to admit his wrongdoings, and then have his name nailed to the front of the church for the town to be reminded of what he has done. At the end of the novel he ends up being hung because he would rather die with his name still in tact rather than have his name ruined and laughed at forever.
“Because it is my name! Because I cannot have another in my life! Because I lie and sign myself to lies! Because I am not worth the dust on the feet of them that hang! How may I live without my name? I have given you my soul; leave me my name!” (Hawthorne, IV.281-294). He begs for his name because he feels that is the only thing that he has left to hold onto. Proctor breaks down and won’t commit to have his name hung on the church door. He would rather die with pride and telling the truth, than stay alive and confess for something he has not done.
While others die from being innocent, Proctor will die from his sin and that is what he thinks is honorable. At the end of the novel when Dimmesdale has come to terms of his wrong-doings and realizes that he needs to confess to be repealed or forgiven of his sin. He says to God, “God knows; and He is merciful! He hath proved his mercy, most of all, in my afflictions. By giving me this burning torture to bear upon my breast! By sending yonder dark and terrible old man, to keep the torture always at red-heat! By bringing me hither, to die this death of triumphant ignominy before the people! Had either of these agonies been wanting, I had been lost forever! Praised be his name! His will be done! Farewell!”(Hawthorne, 23:25).
Dimmesdale feels his relationship with God is torn and the only way to go to heaven and repair that trust is to confess to him. Dimmesdale confesses in hopes of going to heaven and in hopes of keeping his reputation/name. Both John Proctor and Arthur Dimmesdale have sinned, committed adultery, which created guilt and fear of losing their reputation. Both men have lived in 17th century New England, where religion at this time was the main form of controlling the people or government. Everyone respected both Proctor and Dimmesdale as they were higher figures in society. Proctor was a respected and honorable townsman and Dimmesdale was the pastor of their towns. In each novel, both men have committed a moral and religious sin, which is adultery.
Proctor and Dimmesdale have both had affairs with women even when one of the two was married. Both men had higher statuses in the town and realized that the sin they have committed could jeopardize their honor. Proctor confessed his wrongdoing in a court trial and ends up being hung because he would not ruin his name forever. Dimmesdale confesses to God and dies in the woods as his daughter connects with him. Both characters show a form of letting go and being free from their guilt as both die with their name.
The Scarlet Letter and the Crucible have had characters who are exceptionally similar characters due to the fact both have committed adultery, realizing what they have done, which has created guilt and fear of ruining their reputation. This novel has taught the readers that sinning, or lieing comes with costs and can lead to guilt/regret of your choices. How you represent yourself and hold yourself is a huge part of who you are with yourself and in society.
The Scarlet Letter and The Crucible have many similarities even when being written in different eras. One could look at the characters in each story and find two of them unexpectedly similar. John Proctor and Arthur Dimmesdale are exceptionally similar characters due to the fact both have committed adultery, realizing what they have done and their mistakes, which has created guilt and fear of ruining and losing their name. In order to save or keep their name, each character must confess for what they have done wrong and face all the consequences.