The Crucible and The Scarlet Letter are very similar in many distinct perspectives, but both pieces of writing have the same theme: revenge. For example, the two stories take place in the same time frame, approximately around the mid 1700 's to early 1800 's. During this time period, many people were highly religious, and believed that things that could not be explained by normal means, thus forming the theory of the Devil 's work, also known as witchcraft.
Both towns, Salem and Boston, of The Crucible and The Scarlet Letter respectively were colonized by Puritans and their beliefs and rules of God. The setting contributes to the revenge in both pieces of writing because had these events occurred in a later time, Hester and John Proctor would have received a divorce instead of being convicted and possibly sent to death.
As the stories continue, many characters want revenge on other characters because they were seen as a threat, nuisance, or unnecessary. In The Crucible, Abigail Williams wanted Elizabeth Proctor dead in order to have John Proctor all for herself, whereas in The Scarlet Letter, Chillingworth wanted revenge on Dimmesdale. In order to do so, Chillingworth used psychological warfare in order to make his conscience feel guilty, which eventually led up to Dimmesdale 's confession to his crime.
Revenge itself can be positive and negative, depending on those who are affiliated with it. Revenge itself means "To exact punishment or expiation for a wrong on behalf of, especially in a resentful or vindictive spirit."(http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/revenge) In simpler terms, revenge means to inflict pain and sadness onto a person who had done a malicious deed that was affiliated to yourself. There are many types of revenge that occur in both pieces of writing, along with many people who are revenge-ridden.
In The Crucible, Abigail Williams is known mostly for her deceit and cunning attitude, which allows vengeance to help her remove her enemies. One of her enemies that she attempted to eliminate was Elizabeth Proctor. Abigail was Elizabeth 's servant before Mary Warren, and had been relieved of her position because Elizabeth discovered that Abigail had an affair with John Proctor.
After Abigail 's removal from the Proctor home, she was bent on seeking revenge on Elizabeth Proctor, whom she assisted in the Proctor household. One example of how Abigail shows wanting revenge on Elizabeth is by exclaiming to John Proctor: “She is blackening my name in the village! She is telling lies about me! She is a cold, sniveling woman, and you bend to her!” (The Crucible: edition 2003, end of Act I) With this quotation, John Proctor is able to see how Abigail and the rest of the girls "afflicted" with witchcraft and unholy spirits are actually lying and simply eliminating their enemies by accusing them of witchcraft.
This also shows how the power of church and state comes into effect, where the courts also took in the word of God in the cases of witchcraft. Also, Abigail Williams threatens the girls into remaining silent about the actual events that occurred in the forest and in other situations by stating: “I saw Indians smash my dear parents ' heads on the pillow next to mine. And I have seen some reddish work done at night.
And I can make you wish you had never seen the sun go down!”( The Crucible: edition 2003, Act I, pg 19). This is This statement by Abigail Williams puts the girls into a "catch-twenty-two" state. If the girls keep their mouths closed about what happened, then God damns all liars in the end. However, if the girls admit to their sins about being contempt in court, then they would be punished, be forgiven, but would have to face Abigail 's wrath.
In either situation, the girls that have concealed the truth are in trouble anyway. In The Scarlet Letter, Hester uses silence as her method of revenge in order to view a reaction to her husband and paramour, Chillingworth and Dimmesdale respectively. Chillingworth also uses silence in order to change Dimmesdale 's conscience guilty. Both of these pieces of writing use revenge in both a physical and mental state. However, both stories end with different results.
In The Crucible, John Proctor was unsuccessful in saving the majority of innocent lives that were accused of witchcraft. However, John Proctor was successful on saving his wife from death by sacrificing his own. Also, Abigail Williams was unsuccessful on eliminating Elizabeth Proctor so that she may have John Proctor for herself, in which afterwards she flees Salem. On the other hand, she was successful on eliminating many respected people of the town of Salem that blackened her name and made her appearance undesirable.
Reverend Parris was successful and unsuccessful in his endeavors, which was buying the land of those who were executed that was to be auctioned off. However, he was unsuccessful in his attempt to buy Giles ' land, as he died by being stoned. Since Giles died in a Christian way, his land was to be passed down to his family. Goody Putnam, after losing seven out of eight children, wanted revenge on those whom she thought were the cause of her children 's ' deaths. She was successful in her endeavor, accusing Rebecca Nurse of her children 's deaths, seeing how Rebecca Nurse had many children and grandchildren. Rebecca Nurse was executed along with countless others because she did not confess to being a tool of the Devil and performing witchcraft.
In The Scarlet Letter, Chillingworth 's attempts at revenge against Dimmesdale were unsuccessful, however he was successful at manipulating him and changing his conscience to the point in which he felt guilty and had no more purpose to live. At the end of the play, Dimmesdale openly confesses to his crime of adultery, and after being kissed by Pearl, dies peacefully in Hester 's arms. Chillingworth dies within a year, in which Hester and Pearl leave Boston. Hester returns to Boston within a year, still wearing the scarlet letter A, and continues her charity work. In this case, Chillingworth achieves his revenge in the end.
In both stories, revenge is shown and used to break apart trust within people. From John Proctor, Abigail Williams, Thomas Putnam, and Mary Warren of The Crucible to Hester Prynne, Roger Chillingworth, and Arthur Dimmesdale of The Scarlet Letter, revenge is shown in ways that would destroy a society that was uniform, simple, and just.
Each revenge tactic, physical and mental, were used efficiently in the users endeavors. Revenge is shown as a cruel, sly tactic in order to achieve what the user wants, although the results may not be what they excepted. The authors use revenge as a brilliant twist to the pieces of literature that they compose, as their methods corrupted and tortured the citizens of their respective pieces of literature.
Both antagonists in the stories are full of sin and hatred, where their own personal benefits are extended as long as others fail and suffer. Whether it be social, personal, or monetary gain within an antagonist, their actions do not go unwarranted. Eventually, punishment will reach them as it did their adversaries. When that moment comes, antagonists would realize their actions, and on occasion, resent what they have inflicted onto others and attempt to be forgiven for their unspeakable acts. In the end, The Scarlet Letter and The Crucible are two literary creations that have revenge coursing throughout its pages, and whenever there is doubt, the means of revenge and persecution will never triumph in the hands of righteousness and benefit to all, not to just one or a few.