The Theme Of Sin In The Scarlet Letter And The Crucible

Decent Essays

Few themes in literature are as influential or tacitly communicate as much as the theme of sin does, especially in The Scarlet Letter and The Crucible. Through their masterpieces, Hawthorne and Miller reveal the commonness of sin and the grave consequences that often follow it, but also the endurance and perseverance of man despite sin, fulfilling Faulkner's idea of the “writer’s duty”, a term he used in his Nobel Banquet speech. According to Faulkner, the “writer’s duty” is to write about man’s “inexhaustible voice”, that he “has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance”, to remind him of the “courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice” that lies in the past. Faulkner states that if used correctly, the works of an author can urge men to “endure and prevail”, which is certainly what The Scarlet Letter and The Crucible teach through the life of Hester Prynne and John Proctor.
Despite being in an environment plagued with sin, both Hester Prynne and John Proctor remained steadfast, which indirectly encourages mankind to also persevere as Faulkner stated literary works should do. The, while not completely realistic, but eye-opening, accounts of the grim events of the Salem Witch Trials and hypocritical Puritans in The Crucible and The Scarlet Letter show mankind a darker time and allude that society may be slowly declining to the same point of hysteria and duplicity again. While writing their novels, Hawthorne and

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