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 acrificed 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 wasnt so important for him to lie in order to keep himself alive because he believed that if he died, he wouldnt 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 igned the papers, he would have blackened the names of the people who are innocent. He believed that he shouldnt 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, is 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 Chillingworths 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.