Much of the play is taken up with interplay between the fox and his victims as Volpone and Mosca fleece the sheep of Venice. Though Volpone is of a higher class than Mosca, he imitates the other man in terms of the tradition of the fool which Mosca represents. Mosca is a fool because this enables him to live, and to live well. Volpone is a gentleman but plays the fool to those he is fleecing, and in so doing he also manages to live well. Mosca expresses his own view of the role of the fool: "Fools, they are the only nation,/ Worth men's envy or admiration" (I.ii. 66-67).
In The Scarlet Letter, the seduction has taken place perhaps a year before the opening of the novel, but the fact of the seduction is incontrovertible because of the baby Hester Prynne has borne. She is being punished for this sin alone, though this is a sin that could not have been committed alone. She will not reveal the name of her partner in sin, and she bears what the public burdens her with stoicism and courage. Her sin is a sin of passion, but this passion is never evoked directly in the novel. This has all taken place off stage, and it is the aftermath of the seduction that interests Hawthorne.
For that matter, it is less the seduction itself than the response to it that is important in the novel. Dimmesdale suffers greatly because of this seduction, a sin he committed with greater knowledge than that of Hester and with greater culpability as a result. Not only is he a clergyman who should remain above such things in the eyes of society, but in addition he is living a lie by allowing Hester to be punished while he remains a secret sinner. The innocent question of Pearl highlights the depth of his sin: "But wilt thou promise. . . to take my hand, and mother's hand tomorrow noon-tide?" (p. 126). Of course, he will not do so because to do so would bring his sin into the open. His suffering is terrible, but it is entirely because his sin is the greater because it is unrevealed.