The Three Villains Of The Play English Literature Essay

Published: Last Edited:

This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

Being greedy is one of the worst things we can ever be; greed can control our actions, and sometimes can get out of control. In the Crucible, greed was shown through the characters of Reverend Parris, Thomas Putnam, and Judge Danforth. Parris and Putnam were greedy for money. They would've done anything to protect their name, and get wealthier. Danforth was greedy for power. He would've done anything to keep that power even if it meant executing innocent people. Greed caused those three characters, Reverend Parris, Thomas Putnam, and Judge Danforth, to be the "villains" of the play.

A perfect example of greed in the crucible is Reverend Parris. Parris is the minister of Salem's Church, and is one of the "villains" in the play. He is described as greedy and power-hungry, and it was very obvious in the play. "I pray you feel the weight of the truth upon you. For now my ministry's at stake, my ministry and perhaps your cousin's life" (834). In the beginning of Act One, we might have thought that he was worried about his daughter at first. But then we realize he was actually worried about his reputation, and about his ministry. He was scared that if people think there's witchcraft in his house, he would lose his job. In Act three, he showed his selfishness once again, "I can only say, sir, that I never found any of them naked, and this man is-"(871). Parris denied that he saw any of the girls naked while dancing, after Proctor informed Judge Danforth about it. He lied so he could cover up for Abigail, and also to protect his name. His greed became even more noticeable in Act Four. "Excellency, I would postpone these hangin's for a time" (880). He asked judge Danforth to postpone the hangings, we might have thought at first that he might have come back to his senses and realized that what he's doing is wrong. But then it turns out that he was just afraid that if they started hanging respectable people like John Proctor, and Rebecca Nurse, the people in the town will rise up against him and his life will be in danger. "Tonight, when I open my door to leave my house-a dagger clattered to the ground. You cannot hang this sort. There is danger for me. I dare not step outside the night" (880)! Arthur Miller says in his notes that he found nothing good about the historical Parris, so he didn't make his character in the play any better. At the end of the play, Parris is revealed as the selfish, power-hungry man that he is.

However, Reverend Parris wasn't the only "villain" in the play. Thomas Putnam is one of the richest landowners in Salem. He is described as bitter, and also selfish, just like Parris. He holds grudges against lots of people in Salem. One of the people he holds a grudge against is Francis Nurse because he prevented Putnam's brother in law from being chosen as minister. Putnam had a very important role in starting the witch hunt. "There are hurtful, vengeful spirits layin' hands on these children" (836). He is the first character who thinks witchcraft caused Ruth and Betty to be ill. "Sarah Good? Did you ever see Sarah Good with him? Or Osburn" (848)? He accuses many people for witchcraft like, Sarah Good, and Goody Osburn. Putnam also accuses Rebecca Nurse for killing his seven children. Francis Nurse said, "For murder, she's charged! For the marvelous and supernatural murder of Goody Putnam's babies" (858). Putnam is the only character dishonest enough to accuse Rebecca Nurse for witchcraft. He also uses his daughter, Ruth, to accuse people, like George Jacobs, so he could take his land. Giles Corey said, "If Jacobs hangs for a witch he forfeit up his property-that's law! And there is none but Putnam with the coin to buy so great a piece. This man is killing his neighbors for their land" (867)! "The proof is there! I have it from an honest man who heard Putnam say it! The day his daughter cried out on Jacobs, he said shed given him a fair gift of land" (867), he added. What motivated Arthur Miller to make Putnam's character the way he is, is the real Arthur Putnam. The real Putnam's thought he was better than anyone else, and his past is filled with grudges and unkindness. He used to continuously threaten people, and always tried to get rid of anyone who tried to ruin his reputation, or his family's. Does Putnam want to kill those "witches" in order to save the children? I don't think so. Clearly, his plan is to become wealthier, wipe out all the people he doesn't like, and take their land by accusing them of witchcraft.

As I said, Danforth is greedy for power. Judge Danforth is the judge of the witch trials and the deputy governor of Massachusetts He thinks he's always fair, and always right, so it offends him when anyone questions any of his decisions."But you must understand, sir, that a person is either with this court or he must be counted against it, there be no road between" (867), he said. Danforth is convinced that executing people who are denying being witches after they're accused of witchcraft is the right thing to do, and refuses to hear anyone who tells him otherwise. For example, in Act three, when Giles Corey, Francis Nurse, and John Proctor tried to defend their wives, he accuses them of trying to overthrow the court. He believes that he doesn't punish anyone unfairly, because he is guided by God. He cares more about the reputation of the court, and himself than in being fair. "Now hear me, and beguile yourselves no more. I will not receive a single plea for pardon or postponement. Them that will not confess will hang. Twelve are already executed; the names of these seven people are given out, and the village expects to see them die this morning. Postponement now speaks a floundering on my part; reprieve or pardon must cast doubt upon the guilt of them that died till now. While I speak God's law, I will not crack its voice with whimpering. If retaliation is your fear, know this-I should hang ten thousand that dared to rise against the law, and an ocean of salt tears could not melt the resolution of the statues. Now draw yourselves up like men and help me, as you are bound by Heaven to do" (880-881), Danforth said. In Act Four, it became clear that the accusations of witchcraft are false, yet he still refuses to believe that so he could prevent ruining his reputation. The real Danforth inspired Arthur Miller to make his character the way he is. He was also power-hungry, and was also willing to protect his name even if it would require him to kill innocent people. Danforth was a great example of how greed can get out of control, his love of power, caused him to do anything to stay in power, even if he had to sentence innocent people to death.

Greed played an important role in the Crucible, and it caused those three characters, Reverend Parris, Thomas Putnam, and Judge Danforth, to be the "villains" of the play. Each one of them only cared about themselves and themselves only. How far humans can go to get what they want, and how some of them would do anything to protect themselves is unimaginable. Don't you think?