Lying or Dying The Crucible

Throughout the years, lying has had a huge amount of power. Lying has changed, and so has the way people lie, but the reasoning for lying hasn’t. People lie out of fear, revenge, sadness, or selfishness. Others, do not lie and stay true to what they believe is right and what they have faith in. Some are even willing to die for what they believe in. In The Crucible by Arthur Miller, the characters all have their own reasons to lie, whether its Abigail lying for revenge, John Proctor lying for his family, or Elizabeth lying for her husband.

The Crucible is set in Salem during 1692. The main characters are Abigail, the judges, Hale, Mary Warren, Elizabeth, and John Proctor. Teenage girls are caught dancing in the woods, which stems everyone to believe they were practicing witchcraft. People begin to accuse, and Salem begins to fall apart.

In the Crucible, people like Abigail, Mary Warren, and the group of girls lie for selfish reasons and/or to get revenge.

“She is a violent, controlling person in her society; this just gets more severe as the lie of witchcraft progresses. All of the other girls are scared of her; if they do one thing wrong, she could have them hung, with all of her influence gained in the court.”(Edgren).Not only are the people that she is accusing scared of her, but the girls are as well. She threatens she will kill or get the girls killed if anyone tells on her.

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Abigail says, “ Now look you. All of you. We danced. And Tituba conjured Ruth Putnam’s dead sisters. And that is all. And mark this. Let either of you breathe a word, or the edge of a word, about the other things, and I will come to you in the black of some terrible night and I will bring a pointy reckoning that will shudder you.”. Abigail’s biggest lie was that they “danced” in the woods. Most of the witchcraft accusations came from Abigail and the girls.

They lied and risked everyone else’s lives, along with some people being hung, all because they did not want to get in trouble. Abigail played victim and lied to the court, then threatens the girls. Abigail lies and threatens people in the town of Salem, in order to get what she wants. Edgren puts it into perspective, “When she says, “Abigail is a miscreant character; she leads herself and others to tell many lies. She blames others to free herself from remorse. In the play Abigail is threatening and violent to many people: “Let either of you breathe a word, or the edge of a word, about the other things, […] and I will bring a pointy reckoning that will shudder you”. Mary Warren says to John Proctor, “You’re the Devil’s man!”. Mary Warren lies to the community and risks John’s life so she does not get into trouble.

She not only just confesses, she throws John under the bus and then goes against him even though she knows he is telling the truth. The group of girls say, “You drank blood, Abby!” They lie and manipulate with abigail. They go with what she tells them to do, because they are scared, but also they lie a few times where it was not necessary. There have been times where they did not need to lie, but they did and they exaggerated it to hurt others. Many people were hung from lies from the group of girls. If they were scared there were other ways to go about it. For example, they did not have to lie about some of the names they told the judges. They could have avoided that situation altogether. These people symbolize the selfishness that comes with lying and revenge.

People like John Proctor, Elizabeth Proctor, and Putnam lie out of fear of hurting others, or death. John Proctor is a huge example of lying for good reason, because he sticks up for not only his family, but the people of Salem.” In the beginning of the play, John Proctor his a man who desperately wants to keep his reputation from being tarnished. He has been having an affair with Abigail Williams, a naïve and young girl, young enough to be his daughter. This scandalous affair is a secret he must never let his wife find out about. This need to lie and deceive, in order to keep the affair a secret and his marriage intact, drives Proctor to do things that are very immoral.”(Kibin). Proctor messed up, and now he does not want to tell his wife because he fears for his marriage, but he realizes he made a mistake and eventually makes it right. He says, ”I cannot mount the gibbet like a saint. It is a fraud. I am not that man. She is silent. My honesty is broke, Elizabeth; I am no good man.

Nothing’s spoiled by giving them this lie that were not rotten long before.”. Proctor lies to save himself, family, and friends, also so his family does not have a bad name. The judge says that if he does confess, his name will be hung on the church for everyone to see. This would give his sons a bad name. “If Proctor emerges as a leader, it is inadvertently as he fights to defend the wife he has wronged and whose life he has placed in jeopardy because of his affair with Abigail.”(Bigsby)John Proctor wants to set an example, and he i s very looked up to in the town of Salem. So, he does not want to ruin his image with the affair, but he also feels very guilty. He does not do this so he does not get hate, he does this for his family’s name. Like Procter, Elizabeth lies out of love and doesn’t want their Proctors name ruined. Elizabeth exclaims, “I have good reason to think before I charge fraud on Abigail, and I will think on it. Let you look to your own improvement before you go to judge your husband any more. I have forgot Abigail.”

Elizabeth lies to save her husband. She usually does not lie, but she loves her husband and feels she owes it to him to help him. She wanted to lie so that he would not be in trouble by the court for an affair, even though she knew that he had an affair, she forgave. Putnam also is very big on lying for good reason.“How may we blame ourselves? I am one of nine sons; the Putnam seed have peopled this province. And yet I have but one child left of eight—and now she shrivels!”(Miller 45) He lies for land for his family. These people symbolize the good, the people that lie to save others, or their families, and they do not hurt anyone but themselves in the process. Staying true to faith says alot about the person, because they are willing to die for their beliefs. People like Rebecca Nurse, Giles Corey, and Martha Corey all stay true to their Puritan Faith.

Rebecca Nurse tells to John, “Pray, John, be calm. (Pause. He defers to her.) Mr. Parris, I think you’d best send Reverend Hale back as soon as he come. This will set us all to arguin’ again in the society, and we thought to have peace this year. I think we ought rely on the doctor now, and good prayer.”(Miller 40). Rebecca Nurse never lies and keeps to her word. She knows the consequences that she will receive for this, but she knows she did not sin and she will not sin just so she is not hung. She is very wise in this situation because she’d rather be dead then go against her faith in God. Giles Corey wants to make sure his boys have a life when he dies, “More weight”(Miller 100). Giles is stoned just to save his land for his children. He choose to stick to his faith just for his children, this is extremely unselfish and very caring and respectable of Giles. Martha Corey is not a huge character in the novel, but she truly shows what Puritan faith contains.These people are the bravest of all, because they never go against their beliefs.

In the Puritan world of Salem, some citizens find themselves going against their beliefs, staying true to their beliefs, or just keeping their word and never changing. When people go against their beliefs, their lives mean more to them than their religious beliefs. When people stay true, they would die for their religious beliefs. From The Crucible, you can learn from the lies of the innocent, the accused, and the accusers. One thing someone can take from it is that even though lying may seem like the best thing to do at the moment, there could be something better waiting for you if you stay true to your word or just tell the truth originally. The Crucible shows in the beginning, if you “lie”, you will be killed. If you do not lie, you will also be killed, but towards the end, the people who fought it out were the ones to live.

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Lying or Dying The Crucible. (2021, Dec 20). Retrieved from

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