The Crucible – Theme of Revenge

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A dramatist who explores the theme of revenge throughout his play is Arthur Miller in ‘The Crucible. There are different characters in this play that carry this theme of revenge, Abigail being one in particular, as she seeks revenge against Goody Proctor. This is due to Goody Proctor firing Abigail from her job after she had found out Abigail had had an affair with her husband. This seventeen-year-old girl also has an endless capacity for dissembling. John Proctor, Reverend Parris, and the Putnam’s are also characters in the play that are out to seek revenge for their own reasons.

It could through the theme of revenge, be said that Miller tries to enhance your application of the play. Miller wrote the Crucible as a response to McCarthyism in the United States. The setting takes place in Salem, where the villagers are purists, in the days of Witch Trials. However, its real meaning was to expose McCarthyism for what it was – insanity based on a lie. This is through Abigail being, eventually exposed as a fraud like McCarthy himself. However, due to the courts in Salem already having hung so many accused witches, Danforthe was unwilling to accept the truth.

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Although the court had little evidence to convict anyone they would still hang an accused if they would not confess to witchcraft. Repetition has a major participation in showing that Abigail wants rid and revenge on Goody Proctor, as Elizabeth in Abigail’s eyes has been blacking her name in the village. In act one you learn this and Betty reminds Abigail of what she has done. “You drank a charm to kill John Proctor’s wife! You drank a charm to kill Goody Proctor. This repetitions as well as Miller’s use of tone and punctuation here emphasis Betty’s shock and confusion as to why Abigail would do this. The punctuation in particular shows that Betty is trying to get this memory across to Abby, giving the impression that Betty will not let Abigail forget about her actions.

Elizabeth also realises herself that Abigail wants rid of her, when she learns that her name has come up in court that she could also be a witch. “… and she thinks to kill me, then take my place… She thinks to take my place, John. The words ‘take my place’ strengthen the thought, which Elizabeth has, as she knows that she cannot be mistake. Saying ‘John’ at the end of this statement creates the feeling that Elizabeth is trying to get through to John that Abigail is a spiteful love struck teenager. Although Abigail’s reprisal is a strong factor throughout the play, Miller does not enhance your appreciation of the play without there being other conflicts, like Proctor’s vengeance against Abigail. Proctor will do anything for his wife, and he shows this when he seeks out retribution towards his former lust Abigail.

When she accuses Goody Proctor of being a witch, it is then when Proctor changes his feelings towards Abigail. “My wife’s innocent, except she knew a whore when she saw one! ” ‘My wife’s innocent’ portrays the suggestion that Proctor has learnt from his mistakes and appreciates his wife more at the thought of her being hung. In addition, this statement, which Proctor says in court emphasises his hatred towards Abigail, as Miller’s word choice of ‘whore’ strengthens the idea that this is what he sees of her.

Once he learns that everything she has said in court has been a lie. Proctor then goes on to describe Abigail’s actions towards his wife as “a whore’s vengeance. ” As he has also realised that Abigail wants to destroy Elizabeth so that she can have him. The reputation of whore also emphasises the idea that Proctor really does truly hate Abigail for what she has done not to not only him but his family. The revenge, which Proctor and Abigail want begin to, developed your positive reception for the crucible.

Nevertheless, without Parris’s punishment towards the village a truly positive reception will not be gained. The village reverend, Parris, isn’t a well liked man leaving him wanting to get back at the village, at one person in particular as he believes that he deserves respects as he is ‘a graduate of Harvard college. ’ Parris is aware of his dislike in the village as he explains to Abigail, the villager’s actions against him. “There is a fraction sworn to drive me from my pulpit. Do you understand? these words ‘do you understand’ give off the impression that Parris is trying to convince himself of this fact rather than explain it to Abigail. It also shows why Parris wants revenge, as it explains that some of the villagers literally do not like him. The individual on the other hand who Parris seeks his settling of scores with is John Proctor, as he does not respect Parris as a reverend. Parris’s dislike towards Proctor clearly is empathised in act three, which is set in the courtroom.

Made known by Parris’s subtle comments about Proctor, such like “Beware this man, your Excellency, this man is mischief” and “He’s come to overthrow the court, your Honour. ” Both these comments convey the idea that Parris is strongly trying to get his thoughts about Proctor across. This proposal shows through the words ‘Excellency’ and ‘Honour’ that Parris is trying to get the attention of Judge Hathorne as he directs theses comments straight to him. Parris’s revenge towards Proctor is clear once he expresses that John is not a good Christian, as he does not attain church regularly.

This observation, which Parris has made, is one of the main reasons to why Parris reacts to Proctor in the ways he does. This revenge is not as strong as Abigail’s and Proctor’s, although it is still required to create such a huge appreciation from the audience. The Putnam’s conflict in the play is on equal terms to Parris, which also helps create the full reaction with Miller is expecting. Mr and Mrs Putnam’s strike back at Rebecca Nurse is also not a big contribution in the beginning although it has quite a major affect by the act three in the play.

The reprisal here forms after Rebecca Nurse helps to deliver all seven of the Putnam’s babies, resulting in only one of them living. These events are what make the Putnam’s detest Rebecca as much, as she is the only person in which they can think of to blame as Mrs Putnam expresses towards Parris, when she goes into detail about what has happened in the past. “Who else may surely tell us what person murdered my babies? ” this assertion which Mrs Putnam has also indicates that she is looking for someone to blame as she has no other reason why this misfortune has happened.

This blame and vengeance towards Rebecca is what leads to Francis Nurse, turning up on the Proctor’s doorstep to depict the accusation that Rebecca is a witch. “[with a mocking, half-heated laugh]: For murder she’s charger! … For the marvellous and supernatural murder of Goody Putnam’s babies. ” The punctuation and stage directions, which Miller has used, expresses Francis’s disbelief that such a charge was truthful towards Rebecca, as he does not see why anyone could think of her as a witch.

In addition, it puts the idea across that Francis does not agree with the idea that there are witches in Salem. This is just one of the examples Miller uses to communicate the fact that during the witch trial days, if someone had a grudge against another villager. They would accuse them of witchery to get their own back. These illustrations were what increased the audience’s appreciation of the play. Therefore, throughout the whole of Arthur Miller’s play ‘The Crucible’ he successfully enhances your appreciation of the play as a whole through the theme revenge.

Expressing so many different characters reprisal of one another is how Miller manages to create such a positive reception. The representation of Abigail, Proctor, Parris, and the Putnam’s revenge is the main feature of Miller’s treatment to get the audiences admiration for ‘The Crucible. ’ As a result, this success in creating such an approval would not have been manageable without all the input of the theme revenge, as all of the characters in some way hold vengeance towards someone else.

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The Crucible – Theme of Revenge. (2017, Mar 29). Retrieved from

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