The Crucible Essay
The Crucible The Salem Witch Trials are a tragic example in history of persecution and unjustified violence. Mob mentality led to many deaths, while simultaneously revealing a basic facet of human nature: Humans are inherently good, and most will struggle to retain that basic dignity. In The Crucible, by Arthur Miller, witch hunts occur in the Puritan Community of Salem. In Basic Puritan belief, the human spirit is inherently sinful, or depraved.
Therefore, it is entirely logical that people would seek out the Devil through witchcraft or otherwise. Nevertheless, Miller seeks to demonstrate the basic morals that humans are born with as sentient beings. Many of the accused witches refused to bear false witness, to lie and confess the sin of “witchcraft. ” They chose death in dignity over life in guilt and shame. One such example is John Proctor. Throughout the play, he suffers from a guilty conscience as a consequence of his sins.
Proctor’s lechery is arguably the root of the entire conflict in Miller’s story. It remains hidden by both Proctor and his wife for most of the play. However, John Proctor is eventually prompted to confess his sin publicly, despite the damage it would cause his name (Proctor’s name most likely represents his pride, or his public image. ) Logically this confession should spare at least the lives of the Proctors, if not all of the accused.
Due to miscommunication, and plain bad luck, John Proctor is next pressured to confess witchcraft. This confession would appease his accusers, and yet Proctor still refuses. He confesses what he knows to be his sins, and nothing more. When asked for his reason, he says that his name is all that he has left. A confession would spare his life, but he finds more value in his name, his legacy, and his spirituality. John Proctor’s “name” is an important metaphor, and a theme of the play.
It is a representation of pride, of dignity, and most characters refuse to relinquish it. Despite negative definitions of pride in the Bible, and in general society, The Crucible seeks to point out value of a more inward pride. This type of pride is not meant to be hung on a wall, or paraded in front of peers. Instead it is self-worth, whether religiously-based or merely a good feeling. This self-worth can go hand-in-hand with happiness, and according to Arthur Miller, is to be sought after above all things.
The Crucible Essay
‘The Crucible’ written by Arthur Miller is a play which contains a relationship between a male and female character that changes throughout the course of the play. This relationship would be the relationship of John and Elizabeth Procter. This relationship changes from being hostile and awkward at the start and changes to a loving and caring one by the end of the play. This illuminates the central idea in the play of forgiveness. The Crucible is set in Salem, Massachusetts during the witch trials where a group of girls goes dancing within the forest. While the girls are dancing in the forest they were caught by Reverend Parris. Parris’s daughter Betty, who was amongst the group in the forest, falls into a coma-like state. Parris questions Abigail Williams – the girl’s ringleader and Parris’s niece – about the events that took place in the forest, she admits to doing nothing other than dancing. Parris sends for Reverend Hale, an expert on witchcraft, after jumping to the conclusion that witchcraft caused Betty’s state. When Betty wakes up she and the other girls shout out names of townsfolk that they claimed to have seen with the devil.
Mary Warren returns from Salem with news that Elizabeth has been accused of witchcraft but the court did not pursue the accusation. Soon later Elizabeth gets taken by the officers of the court. Procter urges Mary to go to the court and confess that everything is a pretend. Mary confesses to the court that the girls are lying, the girls are brought in and they turn the tables by accusing Mary of bewitching them. Procter gets furious and confesses to his affair with Abigail and accuses her of being motivated by being jealous of his wife. Procter’s wife was brought in to test his claim, she denies it. Abigail and the other girls continue to pretend that Mary is bewitching them, and Mary breaks down and starts to accuse Procter of being a witch. Procter gets arrested after out-breaking in rage against the court and Abigail. Abigail runs away and takes all of Parris’s money with her leaving him pennyless. Hale begs the accused witches to confess falsely in order to save their lives but the all refuse. Danforth asks Elizabeth to talk to john into confessing, john agrees to confess but refuse to blame anyone else. The court insist that the confession is to be made public, Proctor tears it up as he doesn’t want his named to be blackened in the town then Proctor and the accused witches all hang. The relationship between John and Elizabeth Proctor in Act 2, where Elizabeth is first introduced, begins with them being hostile and awkward towards each other. Act 2 is set in the Procter household so you see a lot of cracks in their relationship during this act.
“He gets up, goes to her, kiss’s her. She receives it, with a certain disappointment” This quote shows that when John kisses Elizabeth she receives but for Johns benefit she acts like nothing is wrong and that the kiss pleased her. Although in the mind of Elizabeth she still hasn’t truly forgiven John for having an affair with their old maid, Abigail. At this point Elizabeth still doesn’t believe that John’s heart still lies completely with Elizabeth. Elizabeth still has doubts about John’s faithfulness. With this in mind it shows that Elizabeth acts quite awkward around john especially when he kiss’s her. In Act 2 Elizabeth loses all faith in John when he confesses to her that he met alone with Abigail in Parris’s house next to Betty’s bed while everyone else had left the room. Here John struggles to hold himself back from Abigail tempting him into seducing her. “Quietly she has suddenly lost all faith in him”
Here John is being honest to Elizabeth, by telling her that he has been alone with Abigail, trying his best to please her and make her forgive him. “Quietly she has lost all faith in him” suggests that Elizabeth tried to hide the fact that she wasn’t pleased with John being with Abigail alone which makes her question his loyalty to her once again. John making one mistake makes Elizabeth suddenly lose faith in him which shows that she has trouble believing in him and has difficulty keeping faith that he will stop seeing Abigail. In Act 3 of The Crucible Elizabeth has been accused and has been arrested, while Procter is in the court trying to talk sense into Judge Danforth and is trying to get the court to set the wives of friends, Giles Corey, Francis Nurse and his own free. “Why I …… I would free my wife”
Here John Procter is trying to free his wife as he believes she is not guilty of being a witch. John shows that he does want to be with Elizabeth as he is trying hard to free her from jail, and stopping her from being hanged. This shows that John cares enough for Elizabeth that he is willing to stand and argue with the court so that his wife can be free. Also in Act 3 John Proctor confesses, to the court, about his affair with Abigail. The court then brings in Elizabeth to back up Proctors confession to see if proctor is telling the truth about Abigail so Judge Danforth asks Elizabeth if her husband, John Procter, was a lecher and she replied saying that he wasn’t one. “[faintly] No, sir.”
This shows that even though John has done his wrong Elizabeth is still willing to defend him which shows that she does still care for him. “Faintly” suggests to me that Elizabeth really didn’t want to deny the fact that Proctor had the affair and that she is sick of trying to deny to herself that it happened. She also seems to care about John and their relationship as she tried to protect John by denying the confession so that johns name didn’t get blackened in the town nor that he didn’t go to jail and be in the same place as her at that moment in time. In Act 4 of the crucible you start to see John’s and Elizabeth’s relationship evolve into more of a loving and forgiving relationship. Act 4 is where john is now in jail and has been condemned to be a witch and will hang for it, Elizabeth has been set free as she is pregnant and John starts to ask for forgiveness of Elizabeth. “……Forgive me, forgive me, john – I never knew such goodness in the world! [she covers her face weeping]”
This quote occurs after John asks Elizabeth for forgiveness but just before john agrees to confess to witchcraft. Here Elizabeth starts to care for Proctor more now that he is about to hanged and she starts to see the goodness in John for what he is doing. “she covers her face weeping” suggests that she doesn’t want john seeing her cry and that Elizabeth has truly begun to forgive him for all his sins that he has committed. Elizabeth also asks for John’s forgiveness, to forgive her for thinking so lowly of john and that it took her this long to forgive him. In conclusion Arthur Miller’s play the crucible has successfully created a relationship that changes significantly between two characters, John and Elizabeth Procter, throughout the play from a hostile and awkward relationship to a caring and loving one .This relationship between the two characters illuminate the central idea of forgiveness.