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The Crucible – Play by Arthur Miller

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Mary Warren
The Crucible is a play about the Salem witch trials and all the people involved with the deaths and he people that actually died. The play explains the trigger to thee trials and the events that lead to the first and last people that were hanged. Mary Warren, a character in the play, was the cause of a lot of the deaths in the play, even though in was pretty much all a mistake. The Crucible really makes you thing about how even innocent people are the most guilty.

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Arthur Miller was a play write in the early 1900’s, and one of his most famous plays was The Crucible. He was born October 17, 1915 in Harlem New York and died February 10th.Because of his Jewish faith and political views; Miller was involved in contemporary debates that criticized America’s shortcomings. He was also a very wealth and respected man in his community. He wrote The Crucible play during the Red Scare and the play as based off of that whole event.

The Crucible was about the Salem witch trials and the people that were involved and accused. He used his play to show his feelings on what was happening around him and explain how ridiculous and hectic it was. The Salem witch trials happened in Massachusetts between 1692 and 1693. More than 200 people were accused of practicing witchcraft and about 20 were executed.

The colony admitted the trials were a mistake and compensated the families of those convicted. Since then, the story of the trials has become synonymous with paranoia and injustice. Several centuries ago, many practicing Christians, and those of other religions, had a strong belief that the Devil could give certain people known as witches the power to harm others in return for their loyalty. A “witchcraft craze” rippled through Europe from the 1300s to the end of the 1600s. Tens of thousands of supposed witches—mostly women—were executed. Though the Salem trials came on just as the European craze was winding down, local circumstances explain their onset. Mary Warren is a very naïve and seemingly innocent character.

Arthur Miller, the author of the crucible uses Mary as a tool to convey the extent of hysteria in Salem during the witch trials as Mary is by far the most freaked out person in the whole play. Mary’s malleability reflects how weak most people are in Salem at that time period and also who disrespected women are in the community. She is also used as a contrast to Abigail, the vengeful, selfish, manipulative, and magnificent liar.

This young lady seems to be uniquely gifted at spreading death and destruction wherever she goes. She has a weird sense of how to manipulate others, and to gain control over them. Mary was portrayed as an innocent child and Abigail was the evil witch. The fact that Abigail has such a solid control over Mary highlights how scheming she really is and how easily manipulated Mary is. Mary is also used to create a tension in the story as she is constantly changing her story/opinion due to her fear of other people, which confuses and effects all those around her. Mary is the main product of fear in the crucible, everything that she does is because of her fear of what others will do to her. She is the whole community’s fears and weaknesses packed together in one small package that, even if she doesn’t mean to or want to, ends up doing as much harm to others as Abigail. Arthur Miller introduces Mary as, “a subservient, naïve, lonely girl,” (page11) this informs the audience instantly that Mary Warren is exceptionally timid, has a lack of wisdom, or judgment. Because this description is given in the stage directions it shows that this is Mary Warren’s true character, different from Abigail, who only pretends to be an innocent girl. Mary is one of the girls that were caught in the forest, dancing naked and calling forth spirits, though we quickly learn that she wasn’t actually participating in the events happening around her. Afterwards, she becomes part of the court that condemns withes and at first she likes the power that it gives her. “I am amazed you do not see what weighty work we do.” and “it’s God’s work we do… I am an official of the court…”(page 33) In this quote it is obvious that the power Mary has received is going to her head, whereas she used to be low in status she has all of a sudden become an official of the court with a huge influence on the people. This a something that ever happens for women because they were “property” of the men and Mary being how she is got carried away. This quotation also proves that Mary Warren has good intensions but is simply being lied to and is too wrapped up in all of the “supernatural” things that are causing hysteria to all the people around her to see that she is the easiest puppet to manipulate in Abigail’s game. Mary Warren attempts her newfound “authority” over Proctor, to go against the existing social hierarchy. John Proctor, The Crucible’s protagonist, has some major issues. We can see why. Back in the day, he had everything your average puritan man could want: a goodly farm to ceaselessly toil upon, three goodly sons to discipline, and a goodly wife
with whom to make a home. Proctor was a stand-up guy who spoke his mind. Around town, his name was equal with honor and integrity. He took pleasure in exposing hypocrisy and was respected for it. Most importantly, John Proctor respected himself. “I saved her life today… I said I never see no sign you ever sent your spirit out to hurt no one… they dismissed it.”(Page 33-34) This shows us that Mary enjoys the power she gets from the accusations, and makes her seem similar to Abigail in that she seems to be using this power, and the fact that she protected Elizabeth Proctor, who she currently keeps house for in order to defy Proctor. Although Mary Warren and Abigail share this similarity, they are different because Abigail’s only goal is to take Elizabeth away from Proctor’s life so she can take him for herself, whereas in this situation, Mary Warren is only trying to do the right thing.

Mary is a character that is very reliant on the support and approval of other characters, therefore it could be said that instead of wanting only to defy Proctor, she is looking for support since she helped protect his wife from being convicted of witchcraft. Mary then sees that innocent people begin to be sentenced, and then she feels bad about being part of it all. The first sign that is seen of Mary’s guilty conscience is when she makes a doll for Elizabeth. Abigail has brought Elizabeth’s name up in court, and Mary knows that Abigail did it only for vengeance. Mary was there when Abigail got Tituba to put a curse on Elizabeth, and she also knows all about Abigail’s affair and obsession with John Proctor. Mary’s weak attempt at reconciling backfires on her, however, as Abigail uses the doll to frame Elizabeth for witchcraft. This, of course, makes Mary feels even worse because it was partly her fault and she agrees to go with John Proctor and testify against Abigail in court. Mary’s spineless nature is revealed in the court scene, when under pressure of being hanged she once again flips out, and accusing John Proctor of witchcraft and Devil worship to save herself from being condemned. The quotation, “You’re the Devil’s man… Abby, I’ll never hurt you more!” clearly illustrates how malleable Mary Warren’s character actually is, because she took back her confession, even though she knows that Abigail is lying, because of her fear. Mary is completely driven by her fear of what might happen to her and that is all she cares about, she just wants to protect herself. No matter how guilty she is, no matter how wrong she knows what she’s doing is, it doesn’t make a difference because at least she is alive.

The quote also shows how deeply the hysteria is engrained in her mind, as she is able to completely reverse her statement so quickly. This girl was smart enough to turn around a situation that was near impossible to her advantage. Even good hearted people can commit destructive acts when swept up in mass hysteria like the Witch Trials.

Cite this The Crucible – Play by Arthur Miller

The Crucible – Play by Arthur Miller. (2016, May 07). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/the-crucible-play-by-arthur-miller/

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