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The Crucible and The Birthmark - Good and Evil

Uploaded by snow_shoes31 on Feb 23, 2002

Very often in literature “all conflict is, in its simplest form, is a struggle between good and evil.” In other words, all discord in literature eventually breaks down to a clashing between good and evil. This concept of good and evil being the root of all literature is clearly exhibited in Miller’s “The Crucible” and Hawthorne’s “The Birthmark.”

In “The Crucible” Miller uses characterization and conflict to demonstrate that all conflict in literature is that of good and evil. Miller characterizes Abigail as the femme fatal and an evil person. The reader is made aware that Abigail has seduced Proctor into betraying his wife. Abigail loves Proctor and although he makes it clear that he neither wants nor loves her she is still willing to lie and even be the enabler for killing to get what she wants. Eventually she proves that she is willing to see Proctor’s wife, Elizabeth, hanged to ensure her own personal greed. To oppose Abigail and to create conflict in the story, Miller characterizes Elizabeth as the Salvific woman and a good person. Unlike Abigail, Elizabeth is gentle, honest, and kind. Even after she is imprisoned and facing death, she urges her husband not to lie, not even to save herself. It is through Elizabeth and her benevolence that John Proctor is redeemed.

In “The Birthmark” Hawthorne utilizes setting to portray the relationship between good and evil. The major pieces of the setting that are used by Hawthorne are the bedroom, the laboratory, and the romantic society. Georgiana’s bedroom is depicted as being light, happy, and full of life. The laboratory is portrayed as the complete antithesis of the bedroom, it is dark, gloomy, and deathlike. Both the bedroom and the laboratory meet the requirements perfectly of the good and evil of romantic society, respectively.

All conflict in literature is ultimetly a struggle between good and evil. Hawthorne’s use of characterization and conflict and Miller’s use of setting both provide excellent supporting examples of good and evil for being the basis of all literature.

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Uploaded by:   snow_shoes31

Date:   02/23/2002

Category:   The Crucible

Length:   2 pages (338 words)

Views:   2537

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