The Scarlet Letter and The Crucible both provide similarities about the characters within the Puritan community. Both books reveal similarities between Hester Prynne in The Scarlet Letter and John Proctor in The Crucible. Hester Prynne and John Proctor are not physically similar, but they are alike in some ways because their beliefs and emotions towards the Puritan law affect their reputation and determine the outcome of their future. Hester Prynne and John Proctor are not physically similar but both characters feel guilty for committing adultery, show integrity, they are courageous, and their deaths have left behind a legacy.
Because the Puritans believed it was wrong to commit adultery, Hester feels guilty. It is the Puritan law that makes Hester Prynne a sinner. This is why she carries the letter “A” on her bosom.
“In a moment, however, wisely judging that one token of her shame would but poorly serve to hide another, she took the baby on her arm, and with a burning flush, and yet a haughty smile, and a glance that would not be abashed, looked around at her townspeople and neighbors. On the breast of her gown, in fine red cloth, surrounded with an elaborate embroidery and fantastic flourishes of gold thread, appeared the letter A” (Hawthorne 50).
Although Hester accepts the Puritan’s punishment like putting her in jail and standing on the scaffold, she does not allow her emotions to show on the outside. Instead she keeps the guilt she feels inside in the same way John Proctor hides his guilt from the Puritan community.
Because John Proctor cheats on his wife Elizabeth Proctor with Abigail Williams, he feels guilty just like Hester. When Hale asks John to recite the Ten Commandments, John says all except for thou shall not commit adultery (Miller Act 2, 63). Not only is this ironic because he actually commits the commandment he did not remember but his actions afterwards express guilt within him. After his wife softly tells him adultery, the narrator says, “As though a secret arrow had pained his ear. Aye. Trying to grin it away – to Hale: You see, sir, between the two of us we do know them all. Hale only looks at Proctor, deep in his attempt to define this man. Proctor grows more uneasy. I think it be a small fault” (Miller Act 2, 64). His grin shows that Proctor keeps his guilt on the inside. Also John Proctor tells readers that his guilt makes him feel hurt because his wife is the one to remind him of what he has done wrong in marriage. Although John Proctor hides his sin and Hester Prynne shows her sin by wearing the scarlet letter and Pearl, both characters have inner conflicts. They feel guilty for committing a sin that is unacceptable in the Puritan community.
Although these characters show some weakness at one point, they both have integrity. Hester Prynne and John Proctor both stood up for what they believed and had the capability of executing how they wanted to live. Integrity in Hester is what makes her a better person in town. To...