The Scarlet Letter

Essay by ilovelance March 2004

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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 brotherly, Christian love, but to cruelly lash out on 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 t!

o 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 town¹s minister, Reverend Parris, is

the main person who accuses people of sending their spirits on her and the other girls. What starts as 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 ways. The Scarlet Letter takes place

around the 1640s,