The Crucible and the Scarlet Letter Essay

Topics: The Crucible, John Proctor, Elizabeth Proctor Pages: 3 (796 words) Published: April 25, 2012
Public Humiliation
The Crucible and The Scarlet Letter share many themes that are still present in today’s society, such as the use of public humiliation as a punishment. Because of their sins, both John Proctor and Hester Prynn were alienated and punished by their peers and town leaders. The public humiliation that they faced helped shape the characters in the eyes of the reader and effected the way that they behaved and acted.

In The Crucible John Proctor and the other towns people were punished by means of public humiliation because of their apparent use of witch craft. When they were accused each person was placed on a mobil cart, like cattle, and were transported to the local court where they were tried for their crime. Each trial was public, and towns members went to these trials to ridicule and give condescending comments while the judges were deciding. No jury was present and the only way each defendant could escape hanging was to confess, even if they were not guilty. The accused who refused to confess were publicly hung for all to see, as if to give warning to all other citizens to pray and stay pure because if they did not they would be hung also. it even went as far as publicly displaying names. People would do anything to try and save themselves, even if it meant humiliating and accusing their friends. When John Proctor signed his name on a certificate proving his confession, it was said that it would be hung over the church door to show to, and warn others. This idea of loosing his name, and the shame that would come with the public humiliation was too much for John, so he rebuked his confession. The fear of witches and public humiliation was the death of John Proctor and many others in the Puritan society.

In The Scarlet Letter Hester Prynn was accused and found guilty of adultery after the birth of her child, while her husband was away. Because of this she was condemned to wear a scarlet and gold letter on her chest. Due to this letter,...

Cited: Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The Scarlet Letter. New York, NY: Bantam, 1850. Print.
Miller, Arthur. The Crucible (Penguin Classics). London: Penguin Classics, 2003.
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