Essay on Guilt In The Scarlet Letter And The Crucible

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The presence of guilt has been felt by all human beings. As guilt grows in a person’s life it eventually begins to have a deteriorating effect on the individual. In both The Scarlet Letter and The Crucible more than one of the characters are experiencing some form of guilt and the effects of the public’s opinion on their own personal sins. Each character’s guilt originates from a different personal problem and with each character’s guilt comes a different reaction. Miller and Hawthorne use the source of guilt, the actions resulting from it and the eventual consequences to portray the concept of a guilty conscience to the reader.     …show more content…
With Hester however, her guilt come from “’ the scarlet token of infamy on her breast and the sin-born infant in her arms “’(69). Her sin was already known and the only guilt that she felt was when she looked at her daughter or caught a glimpse of her letter in a mirror. The sources of guilt in the novels are not all the same, however in all situations, their guilt comes from some sort of sin, whether it be considered a sin in their heart, or in the eyes of others around them.            As guilt exists in the lives of Hester, Dimmesdale, Elizabeth and Proctor, it brings them to respond to it in different ways. Dimmesdale’s guilt actually brings him to self destruction. His appearance begins to change drastically, he becomes pale and very sickly. He beats himself up inside and it was believed by some that he wore a scarlet letter “imprinted in his flesh”(240). So, not only was he scarred inside, but also outside. Proctor handled his guilt with a different approach. His actions towards his wife changed, in that he does nothing without looking to please her first. He hopes to gain her forgiveness in order to remove the weight off of his heart. The men in both situations are more dramatic and open with their guilt, however, the women keep it bottled up inside. Hester does nothing to express her guilt to
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