The Crucible by Arthur Miller

Essay by steady__eddie May 2004

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The Crucible, by playwright Arthur Miller, tells the tale of the 1692 Salem witch trials and demonstrates how the turbulent time was increased by the vindictiveness of the people of Salem, even before the event of witchcraft. The defensive, insidious ways of the girls, under the manipulative control of Abigail Williams was responsible for creating the mass hysteria and paranoia that blinded the small religious town in Massachusetts and forced them to falsely prosecute and hang innocent members of their community.

The play illustrates that even before the witchcraft trials started, the spite between the citizens of Salem was apparent. Most of the characters fed malice, jealousy, hatred and resentment towards other neighbours, and this was also responsible for much of the problems. Ann Putnam lost all but one of her eight children at childbirth, and she sought someone to blame. She is envious of Rebecca Nurse, who has 11 children and is 26-times a grandmother.

Thomas Putnam has a rift with John Proctor over land ownership and the two are caught up in an ongoing battle. John Proctor is also involved in a bitter row with Reverend Parris about his sermons about Hell and Satan, which annoy him. Parris is a corrupt leader and has gluttony for anything monitory. Parris demands gold candlesticks and more money from the Parish. The quarrels are not just among the patriarchs of the community, as Abigail shows. Her abhorrence for Elizabeth Proctor is clear, and her adultery with John epitomizes her as a character as one of greed and selfishness. Her manipulative ways and forceful manner "You loved me, John Proctor, and whatever sin it is, you loved me yet!" show how she wants John all to herself and she makes a charm to kill Goody Proctor. Proctor is one of the characters...