The Play The Crucible By Arthur Miller English Literature Essay

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The play "The Crucible" by Arthur Miller is set in the New England town of Salem, Massachusets in the year 1692. This has a very important effect on the play. Salem is populated mainly with Puritans, or a person who is strict in moral or religious matters. Therefore, there were strict rules as to what it mean to be a Christian. Now, you are inoccent until proven guilty. However in that time, you were guilty until proven innocent. Things that happened in the play, such as the witch trials, could only happen in a theocracy based on literal Christianity. A subsetting in the play is the forest within Salem. The forest was seen as the last strong hold of evil in the town. Abigail and the girls danced in the forest, therefore it was seen as ruled by the devil, when Salem was seen as ruled by god.

Plot

A group of girls go dancing in the woods lead by an African American slave named, Tituba.

Reverend Parris' daughter Betty falls into a coma-like state.

Revernd Parris sends for Reverand Hale, an expert of witchcraft.

Elizabeth urges John to denounce Abigail as a fraud.

Mary Warren, returns from Salem with the news that Elizabeth has been charges with witch craft.

Giles Correy and Francis Nurse arrest Elizabeth.

John Proctor forces Mary Warren to testify that the girls are lying.

Elizabeth is spared for time because she is pregnant.

John Proctor convinces Danforth to allow Mary Warren to testify and Mary tells the court the girls are lying.

When the group of girls are brought in the accuse Mary of bewitching them.

John Proctor confesses his afair with Abigail Williams and accuses her of being motivated by the jealousy of his wife.

Danforth asks Elizabeth if her husband has been unfaithful to her, but says he hasn't to spare her husbands name. She did not know John had already confessed.

Mary accuses John Proctor of being a witch.

John Proctor is arrested and Hale quits the proceedings.

Abigail Williams runs away, taking Reverand Parris' money with her.

Reverand Hale begs the accused witches to confess falsely to save their lives, but they will not.

Elizabeth trys to talk John into confessing.

John confesses but refuses to incriminate anyone else, and ends up retracting his confession.

Characters

There are many important characters in "The Crucible." One of them is Reverand Samuel Parris. Reverand Parris is an egolistic man that was more concerned with his reputation than the sickness of his child. He has made many changes to his church that are to the peoples dismay. He was strongly disliked for straying away from the ways of the Puritan Church, such as placing gold within the church and wanting to own the house that the church had provided for him. John Proctor, the protagonist in this play as well as a target of Reverand Parris', is another important character. Mr. Proctor is a man in his thirties, and is seems unlike the other men in the town. He had a brief afair with Abigain, and is making it his duty to stop the witch hunt that he and his wife, Elizabeth Proctor, have found themselve caught up in. Mr.Proctors wife, Elizabeth Proctor, has a non-affectionate demeanor towards her very caring husband, leading him into the arms of Abigail. This makes Elizabeth Abigails main target, for she thinks if she is gone, she whave a chance with Mr. Proctor. Abigail Williams, the teenage neice of Reverand Parris, is the main force behind the witch hunt. She is the leader of the victims claiming to be possesed who are in search of the towns "witches." Abigail's cousin, Betty Parris, is the ten year old daughter of Reverand Parris. She mysteriously became ill after being caught by her father dancing with the other girls in the woods naked. Betty's illness brings Reverend Hale to Salem to check for signs of witchcraft. Reverand Hale is a revered reverand who starts a massive outbreak of people being accused. He realizes the corruption of the outbreak and tries to protect the lives of innocent people.

Themes

Many themes are portrayed in this pay. One of them is lie and deciet. Most, if not all of the characters are lying in some way. If not to other people, then to themselves. Along with, Respect and Reputation, the social status in the town is tied to ones ability to substain the unspoken religious rules. A good name is the only way you will survive, such as getting people to do buissiness with you or even getting a fair hearing in court, however reputation means nothing when it comes to witch craft. Another theme is Good and Evil. The village bases their belief system between good vs evil, or god vs satan. The play is divided into two camps, but nobody truly understands which side is good, and which side is bad. Then of course, there's the theme of jealousy. However, the main theme is fear. Fear of the devil allows the witch trials to proceed, fear of death causes people to lie and say they're witches, and the fear of lying causes inocent people to die.

Quotations

Act 4- John Proctor: "Because it's my name! Because i cannot have another in my life! Because I lie and sign myself to lies! Because I am not worth the dust on the feet of them that hang! How may I live without my name? I have given you my soul; leave me my name!"

- John cares more about he and his friends reputations that his own life

Act 3- John Proctor: "A man may think god sleeps, but God sees everything. I know that now."

-John now realizes that what he did was Abigail was a sin and that it was wrong, and he claims he will not make the same mistake again.

Act 1- Abigail Williams: "I danced for the devil; I saw him, I wrote in his book; I go back to Jesus; I kiss his hand" -Abigail is worried about being disgraced for having cast charms, dancing, and worshipping the devil with her friends and hopes she can be forgiven and return to god.

Act 2- Elizabeth Proctor: "John, grant me this. You have a faulty understanding of young girls. There is a promise made in any bed..." -Elizabeth is trying to explain to her husband, John, that Abigail is accusing her of being a witch because she is jealous of her and wants John to herself.

Act 3- Danforth: "You must understand, sir, that a person is either with this court or he must be counted against it, there be no road between. This is a sharp time, now, a precise timeâ€"we live no longer in the dusky afternoon when evil mixed itself with good and befuddled the world."

-He is saying that everything and everyone belongs to God or the Devil. The court as well as the government of Massachusets necessarily belong to God. That means, anyone who disagrees with the court’s activities is not an honest opponent.

Questions

1) Why did they set the people that claimed to have worshipped the devil free, rather than the ones that claimed they didn't?

2) What started the witch trials?

3) How did the witch trials end and who ended them?

4)

5)

Response

I believe things that happened in the Salem Witch Trials were highly unfair and uncalled for. It made me realize that I'm very greatful to live in the society we live in today. The court was unfair and people got killed for no reason. If the court had not improved since then, I cannot even begin to imagine what society today would be like. I think they should have at least found evidence of people being guilty before they were hung, rather than taking peoples word. Just because they swore to tell the truth, doesn't mean they actaully do.

Assignment #2

Expository

Creative

Dear Elizabeth Proctor,

Throughout the play, i found you one of the most inspiring characters. You were a mother and wife, who has been through a great deal. You were accused of witchcraft simply because of jealousy, and were cheated on but still managed to help your husband when he was in need. The way you carried yourself even though you were accused of something you hadn't actually done is really amazing. You stayed true to who you are and didn't break down like many of the others that had been accused did. When the court asked you to step in and convince John to confess, even though you knew he didn't, you helped him decide what was best to do for not only yourself, but for him aswell.

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