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Two American authors of two distinctly different time periods had one very similar task to turn a piece of American History into a believable tragedy Arthur Miller with The Crucible and Nathaniel Hawthorne with The Scarlet Letter Perhaps one might wonder which author did a better job in doing so but with such different pieces of work this is hardly a question that can be answered Millers the Crucible was written in the nineteen-fifties with a definite purpose to remind Americans of the horrible witch trials that took place in Salem even before the American Revolution was a thought It served as a tool to warn against the same thing happening with the Communist hearings going on in our country at the time it was written Miller wrote a play which was not well received by the first audiences to witness it but none the less is now recognized as one the finest pieces of literature written by an American Hawthornes the Scarlet Letter was written in the eighteen hundreds with no other purpose but for Hawthorne to write a novel Hawthorne perhaps chose this dark subject to convey his contempt for Puritanism He was a man preoccupied with the hidden sin which is illustrated in not only the Scarlet Letter but also in The Ministers Black Veil One might even say that Hawthornes ancestry Hathorne is what he might consider his own Pearl and this is why he changed his name Like Millers the Crucible The Scarlet Letter takes place in Puritan Salem and has a tragic hero but these are the only similarities between the two great works In Millers play the tragic hero is John Proctor a man whose pride causes the demise of many women tried as witches Had Proctor chosen to reveal his sin of lechery with Abigail Williams before
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