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Dimesdale Vs. Proctor Paper

1281 words - 6 pages

Dimmesdale vs. John Proctor
Heroes are often thought as the superior and perfect people in society. However, The Scarlet Letter and The Crucible illustrates that everyone, including sinners, can be a hero in certain situations. The Scarlet Letter, a book about the consequence and change of identity after committing adultery between the main characters, Hester and Dimmesdale, has many similarities with The Crucible, a story about an unfair witch-hunt in Salem, Massachusetts. In the two books, Dimmesdale and John Proctor are depicted as heroes despite their critical flaws in their lives. Nathaniel Hawthorne and Arthur Miller, the authors of The Scarlet Letter and The Crucible, portray ...view middle of the document...

” She continues on to say, “in the dark night-time, he calls [Hester and Pearl] to him, and holds [their] hand … But, in the sunny day, and among all the people, he knows [them] not; not must [they] know him!” (Hawthorne 188). By her saying, the difference between the moments with themselves and moments with other people is apparent. The two-sided aspect of Dimmesdale gives a better picture of Dimmesdale as a hypocrite. Even though seen as an upright Reverend in the whole story, Dimmesdale clearly portrays hypocrisy. In contrast to Dimmesdale, John Proctor is not a highly honored man. Coincidentally, John Proctor also commits adultery, which is similar to Dimmesdale. The subtle difference between the two is that Dimmesdale, an unmarried man, commits adultery with a married woman while John, a married man, commits adultery with a virgin. Another similarity between Dimmesdale and John is hypocrisy in their lives. Throughout the story, John Proctor’s actions and speeches to Elizabeth are rude and unjustifiable. Near the beginning of the novel, when Elizabeth reminds him of his faults, he answers her with anger instead of guilt (Miller 52). He tells Elizabeth to “look to [her] own improvement before [judging her] husband anymore” (Miller 52). The statement depicts hypocrisy because even though he has wronged her, he has no sign of regret but instead gets angry with her, telling her not to judge him rather than asking for forgiveness. He has wronged against Elizabeth, but he speaks as if Elizabeth is the sinner. Another moment of hypocrisy is shown in Proctors’ talk with Hale. When Hale questions John about his absences in church and why his children are unbaptized, John reveals hatred toward Reverend Parris (Miller 61-62). He mentions that he does not want his children to be baptized by Parris because he “[sees] no light of God in [Parris]” and he does not want Parris to “lay his hand upon [his] baby” (Miller 62). Earlier, he tells Elizabeth not to “judge” him but look to her own “improvement” first (Miller 52). In contrast with his statement, he judges Reverend Parris despite his bigger sin as a lecher. This clear difference between his words and his actions further proves his hypocrisy.
Different from the symbolism of hypocrisy between the characters in The Scarlet Letter and The Crucible, another overlapping symbol between John Proctor and Dimmesdale is justice. Even though Dimmesdale conceals his crime from the society, he suffers in pain of guilt. As the story moves on, Dimmesdale gets significantly weak and pale (Hawthorne 99). The cause of Dimmesdale’s frailty is clearly his self-harming actions: extreme “devotion to study, his scrupulous fulfillment of parochial duty, and, more than all, by the fasts and vigils…” (Hawthorne 99). Another punishment of Dimmesdale given by himself is noted when Chillingworth discovers the scarlet letter carved on the flesh of Dimmesdale’s...

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