Similarities Between The Crucible And The Scarlet Letter

Decent Essays

Julie Tschirhart
American Thought
Due: October 13th

A Witch by Any Other Name

(hook) Though nearly 100 years separate the two works of classic American fiction, the similarities between Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter (1850) and Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible” (1953) extend far past their close to identical settings in 17th Puritanical Massachusetts colonies. As is to be expected, the events of both works can likely be attributed to the daily stress and tension each character feels (to varying degrees) caused by living in an isolated village where life is constantly under scrutiny that could result in banishment, loss of stature, and even a horrific death. This constant battery of external pressures and expectations conflicts with the inescapable fact that humans are, by nature, fallible, leading those who wish to live a happy, uneventful life and potentially even become pillars of their community to cultivate an outward-facing identity to protect them from exposing their true selves, and thus flaws, to an unforgiving community of “strangers”. The concept of characters being plagued by two conflicting identities, or wearing more than one face as Hawthorne would describe it, is present in many lead characters in both “The Crucible” and The Scarlet Letter and results in themes of hypocrisy, reputation, and isolation that function as plot shows throughout the narratives. Arthur Dimmesdale of “The Crucible” is a respected, honorable member of his society, acting

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