Sacrifice Essay, Research Paper

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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