Arthur Dimmesdale and John Proctor's Guilt and Sin Essay

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Arthur Dimmesdale and John Proctor's Guilt and Sin

Guilt is something that weighs heavily on the human soul. It
incorporates itself in our dreams, our thoughts, and our actions.
Everywhere we turn, it stares us blankly in the face. While it is
unbearable to suffer, guilt is an emotion that reaffirms our humanity.
Repentance of a particular guilt, being spiritual, physical or both,
is evidence that we are beyond the baseness of our animal tendencies.
This fact has not gone unnoticed to the many great figures of
literature. They have explored the sentiments of guilt and repentance
by exploiting the conscience of flawed characters. In The Scarlet
Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne presented to the world Reverend Arthur
Dimmesdale, a man
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However, this penance was not enough. The
only way he could truly out the pestilence that had been eating away
his soul was to publicly proclaim his guilt. To him, “nothing short of
a total change of dynasty and moral code in that interior kingdom was
adequate to account for the impulses now communicated.”(Hawthorne
205). When he acknowledged Pearl as his own during the Election Day
speech, he shone a little light into the darkness of his guilt. Sadly,
even in this moment of revelation, the sin that had become his cross
for seven long years finally ended his life. While pain and shame had
been merely earthly penances, death was the final judge.

Unlike Dimmesdale’s internal suffering, John Proctor was martyred as a
result of vengeance. Abigail Williams, his young lover, used the
accusation of witchcraft to get rid of Elizabeth Proctor, the only
person keeping her from Proctor’s love. Although she never confessed
her intentions, they were quite clear: “Oh, John, I will make such a
wife when the world is white again! You will be amazed to see me every
day, a light of heaven in your house…”(Miller 150). Even before
Elizabeth was dead, Abigail was making plans for their future
together. Their secret liaison was something that forever bound their
fates together. As the Salem Witch Trials reached a crescendo and the
machinery of death had gained irrevocable momentum, Proctor…