In 17th century, there was a group of Christians, known as puritans, in Massachusetts. One item that was different about puritans was that they had very strict rules, especially sins. The two famous works, one by Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter and second by Arthur Miller, The Crucible, say a lot about puritan lives during this time period. The Scarlet Letter took place in Boston, Massachusetts, and The Crucible took place in Salem, Massachusetts. Both of his works deal with sin, its effects on different characters, people's reactions, each character's conflicts, and their resolution to the conflicts.
Dimmesdale, who is one of the main characters in The Scarlet Letter, and John Proctor, who is in The Crucible. Dimmesdale is more about his respect than anything, while Proctor respects truth than his respect. We can get evidences by looking at their motivations, conflicts, and conflict resolutions, which differ the same way they do. Both, Dimmesdale and Proctor, are different men, but their external conflicts make them the most different. Dimmesdale and Proctor, are two of the main characters from books The Scarlet Letter and The Crucible respectively, who goes through many external conflicts.
The conflicts that both characters undergo are different from each other. For instance, Dimmesdale has an external conflict with Chillingworth, his lover's husband, who wants to give a lot of pain for committing adultery with his wife, Hester. “His fame, his position, his life, will be in my hands. ” (Chillingworth, Page 65). On the other hand, Proctor has an external conflict with Abigail, his lover, who wants to live with him for whole her life and kill his wife, Elizabeth Proctor. "Goody Proctor always kept poppets. " (Proctor, Act 2).
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Both characters have conflicts that led them a series of problems. Dimmesdale doesn't know that Chillingworth is Hester's husband, and so keeps him as a doctor for him. Chillingworth takes advantage of this and keep giving Dimmesdale wrong medicines, which results in more and more pain for Dimmesdale. Thus, Dimmesdale have to suffer pain due to Chillingworth. John Proctor, character from The Crucible, however, has a different kind of problem. Abigail tries her best to get Proctor, which also includes accusing thirteen people from the town with Elizabeth Proctor.
When he confesses about adultery with Abigail in court, nobody listen to him. "I have made a bell of my honor! I have run the doom of my good name - you will believe me, Mr. Danforth! My wife is innocent, except she knew a whore when se saw one! " (Proctor, Act 3). Dimmesdale have to suffer the pain of his heart, while Proctor has to go to jail. In other words, Dimmesdale have to go through inner pain, while Proctor has to go through external pain. Dimmesdale's conflict with Chillingworth and Proctors conflict with Abigail are their primary external conflicts, but they also have some internal conflicts.
Dimmesdale and Proctor have their internal conflicts, which are totally different from each other's conflicts. For example, Dimmesdale is becoming sick day by day due to the internal conflict that, which is the guilt of the sin of adultery. "It is for the reason that the minister keeps his hand over his heart! " (Pearl, Page 148). On other hand, Proctor has an internal conflict over confessing of committing adultery for the good of his wife or not. "(trembling, his life collapsing about him): I have known her, sir. I have known her. " (Proctor, Act 3).
Both of these character's conflicts led them to problems. Because of Dimmesdale's internal conflict, he become very sick and at the end died on the scaffold. He was feeling so much guilt that he couldn't live and so one night he goes to the scaffold and stands with Hester and Pearl. There is one ironic entity about his sickness. As he became sicker, his popularity increased in the town. Proctor, however, doesn’t go through a lot of pain. He have problem with his wife due to Abigail and also during confessing in the court, he became very nervous.
Proctor had to choose life of his wife or his own. In other words, if he confessed his wife would be saved, but if he doesn't than he will be saved from public humiliation. Thus, both had different internal conflicts and also different effects due to those. Dimmesdale’s internal conflict due to his guilt and Proctor’s internal conflict of confessing or not are different, but their motivations in the books are also different. The characters Dimmesdale and Proctor have motivations for acting in a certain way in books, The Scarlet Letter and the Crucible respectively, which are different.
For instance, maintaining his respect in the town motivates Dimmesdale. "Hester, here is a new horror! Roger Chillingworth knows your purpose to reveal his true character. Will he continue, then, to keep our secret? What will now be the course of his revenge? " (Dimmesdale, Page 162). On other hand, Proctor’s motivation is the love for his wife. “These are my friends. Their wives are also accused-I come not to hurt the court: I only-” (Proctor, Act 3). Both characters are motivated in different ways to act the way they are acting in the book.
Because of Dimmesdale's motivation, he keeps his guilt inside. He doesn't confess. Pearl even asks him to stand on the scaffold with Hester and her, but he refuses her. Thus, his motivation led him to suffer his pain and not confess. However, Proctor is motivated by the love for his wife. He took evidence with him that proved that Abigail is wrong in saying that his wife is witchcraft, but the judges ignore him. After trying that, he confesses of committing adultery with Abigail, but due to his wife's attempt of saving him, the court doesn't believe him this time either.
He goes to jail and is hanged at the very end in attempt of saving his wife and of witchcraft. Dimmesdale's respect and Proctor's love for his wife are motivations that lead them to act in the way they do are different, and they also have different conflict resolutions. As Dimmesdale and Proctor's conflicts are different, the ways they resolved it are also totally different. For example, Dimmesdale tries to solve his conflict by confessing on the scaffold, but doesn't work. “Then, down he sank upon the scaffold! Hester partly raised him, and supported his head against her bosom. (Hawthorne, Page 209). John Proctor's way of solving his conflict was different from Dimmesdale's. He tried by confessing the contraption that was not right, but also didn't worked. “.... A man will not cast away his good name. You surely know that... A man may think God sleeps, but God sees everything, I know it now. I beg you, sir, I beg you - see her what she is. " (Proctor, Act 3). They both have different ways to resolve their conflicts, which came to same result, a fail. Due to Dimmesdale's confession, he fall down and died immediately.
His partial reason for his death is Chillingworth's torcher and also his internal conflict. He cannot see his reputation going down and so dies. On Proctor's side, it is different. He goes to the court and tries to save his wife with different ways, but at last when anything doesn't work, he confesses himself to prove Abigail Williams wrong. After this, the judge called Elizabeth Proctor to conform the statement that his husband said and the first time in her life, she lied. This way, the judges don't believe him and sends him to jail for practicing witchcraft and going against the court.
Dimmesdale’s resolution of dying and Proctor’s resolution of confessing for the good of his wife and children were the last entity proving that they are different. In conclusion, the reader can interpret that Dimmesdale and John Proctor are entirely different men through their motivations resulting in conflicts and the ways of handling their conflicts. Dimmesdale and Proctor both have a great respect in the town, but made mistake of committing adultery. While, they have the similar situation, but handles it with different ways.
John Proctor believes that his reputation is because he is a truthful man. “How may I live without my name? I have given you my soul: leave me my name! ” (Proctor, Act 4). He said this after telling that lie of being witchcraft because he doesn’t want people to say him a liar, and want to teach his children a good lesson of saying the truth. While, Dimmesdale thought that it is good to ignore the truth to maintain his respect. He doesn’t confess until the end when he was going to die. So, the reader can conclude that everyone doesn’t think in the same direction by looking at Dimmesdale and Proctor.
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