This piece of writing compare the two stories, "The Crucible" and "The Scarlet Letter." To compare, I go in depth with the trait of establishing identity.
Throughout the play, The Crucible and the novel The Scarlet Letter, the characters respond to many conflicts and struggles inherent in the quest to establish identity. Through many trials and tribulations of different tactics and strategies, these struggles and conflicts are overcome. Through hard work, dedication, and diverse perceptions, arduous tasks can be completed. Many values and morals are timeless. There are parallels between the issues faced by characters from these two works of literature from long ago and young adults trying to become who they are. Analyzing characters from stories allows us to see their quest to achieve true identity and learn their purpose as well as their core values.
In the play, The Crucible, John Proctor is viewed as a dynamic character, likewise in the novel, The Scarlet Letter, Hester Prynne is seen as dynamic. Both characters are the protagonist of their respective story. Before the stories begin we learn of grave mistakes the two characters have made. Ironically, both have made the mistake of committing the sin of adultery. John Proctor cheated on his wife, Elizabeth Proctor, with a young teenager, Abigail Williams, while Hester Prynne, an English born citizen who was quite unhappy with her marriage to Roger Chillingworth, committed adultery with the young and handsome reverend of Boston, known as Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale.
Shortly after moving to the American city of Boston, Hester Prynne had an affair with Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale. Together in Boston they had a child, named Pearl. Dimmesdale’s role in this affair however, was kept secret. As Hester was in search to find and establish her true self, she increased her wisdom and knowledge greatly through basic trial and error. Her husband soon discovered of Hester’s dishonest act which went against their marriage vows, and used that to his advantage to gain status in Boston. Similarly, John Proctor’s acts in The Crucible are relatable to the acts of Hester because he too, had cheated on his spouse and through many different experiences had learned and grown as a person, but his life was ended shortly after being accused of witchcraft, not for his act of adultery.
Abigail Williams is considered static because of the ways in which she is stubborn and downright ignorant. Chillingworth is also a static character, who consequently plays a similar role to Abigail Williams. They are both the antagonist of their own story. Throughout the stories, both Abigail Williams and Roger Chillingworth are the individuals who attempt to put a stop to the revealing of the true identities of the protagonist in each of their stories. After Abigail Williams had an affair with John Proctor she attempted to replace Elizabeth Proctor and become John’s wife. She used the fact that she was a minor in their situation to her advantage and manipulated the town into thinking others were witches to get them out of her way. By the end, she had lost in her attempt to rid Elizabeth out of her life as well as Proctor’s. Her attempts showed to be fruitless because John Proctor was taken along with Elizabeth and John was put to death. However, Elizabeth was not because she was believed to be with child. Correspondingly, Roger Chillingworth had a set goal to exact revenge on Reverend Dimmesdale once he discovered the truth about the affair. His life’s pursuit became to make Dimmesdale miserable, which he successfully completed, but at the expense of allowing it to consume his own life, leaving his previous goals unfulfilled and feint mark of negativity on the history of Boston.
Not only is the quest to find identity difficult in puritan societies, but in today’s society as well. Today, much more is required of the young adults who run the majority of our society. There are not only the burdens of leaving an impression on people’s mind, but also working with society integrating the arduous adaptations required to run in modern day life, in search for individuals true selves and their inner being. Many morals that were valid and common many years ago are still commonly seen in today’s society. The parallels between long ago and the experiences of those of young adults today trying to become who they are as an individual are connected by the values people still hold today. Most morals and values are timeless and can be related to from one generation to the next. In most societies, adultery is frowned upon and modern times, adultery often still leads to many things including isolation, arguments, and in certain instances death, much like in the past. Adultery can ruin relationships, ruin friendships, and lead to death as a result of committing such a heretical act.
In conclusion, the inherent quest to search for identity can be brought about through different obstacles, which many individuals must face. There are parallels between the puritan societies and people of today, which share a common trait, which includes comparable moral values. Many hardships occurred throughout both stories, but they could have easily been prevented by being loyal to their significant other. People have been shunned from society but through hard work and in some cases, luck, they have conquered over what has been done wrong to them. Even if the end result was death, they still had a significant impact on the ones who put them down. By conquering over the antagonist, they learn about whom they truly are and what is expected of them now that they are almost reborn in a sense of identity and responsibility.