In many works of literature, a character makes a sacrifice that can affect
his life in order to achieve something more important. In the play The Crucible, by
Arthur Miller, the character John Proctor sacrifices his life, while in the novel The
Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorn, the character Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale,
sacrifices his reputation. Both characters, Proctor and Dimmesdale, respectively,
gained something more important than their life and reputation.
In order to redeem himself from the sins he has made, John Proctor
sacrificed his life. Before he was hanged, Elizabeth, his wife, was asked to get him
to confess that he was practicing witchcraft. During their conversation, John
revealed that it wasn't so important for him to lie in order to keep himself alive
because he believed that if he died, he wouldn't die saintly. However, when they
gave him papers to sign, which stated his confession and the names of people who
are accused of witchcraft, it became important to him that he does not lie. If he had
signed the papers, he would have blackened the names of the people who are
innocent. He believed that he shouldn't have to blacken the names of the accused
people in order to keep his life. Through this sacrifice, he has balanced all the sins
he has made. Therefore, he has redeemed himself and kept his soul.
Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale sacrificed his reputation in order to gain
inner peace. Dimmesdale has been tortured by himself as well as Chillingworth.
Chillingworth felt the need to torture the man who committed adultery with Hester,
his wife. Dimmesdale felt guilty for not confessing his crime when Hester was on
the scaffold. The only way he could remove this guilt was to confess his crime, and
ruin his reputation with the townspeople. Even though he died almost immediately
after his confession, he won the respect of his daughter, escaped Chillingworth's
torture, and most importantly gained his inner peace.
Both John Proctor, and Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale gave up something that had a
big affect on their lives in order for them to gain what was more important. They
both committed sins, and they both took the last chance to keep their souls. If John
Proctor signed the confession, he would have lived with the guilt of contributing to
the fate of numerous victims who died in the Salem Witch Trials. If Dimmesdale
did not confess, he would have died with unhappiness and misery, just like the way
he lived his life. He also would never have gained his inner peace, and he leaves no
chance for Pearl to grow up to be a respectful and respected person.
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