‘The Crucible’ is a very clever and fascinating play; primarily what makes the play so interesting is the fact that it can be interpreted on two levels. On a more basic stage it is a very dramatic, theatrical and emotional story full of unexpected twists, however on a higher point it is full of both political and religious messages. Miller wrote The Crucible in the 1950’s almost 300 years after the Salem witch-hunt, although he did have an extremely good motive for writing the play. Arthur Miller recognised the similarities between the persecution of the witches in the seventeenth century and the persecution of communists in the mid twentieth century.
The play despite its political inspiration has some spectacular scenes be it Abigail accusing the majority of Salem of being witches, or John Proctor dying to save his name. The passage while reading the play I found most intriguing and motivating, was pages 91-95. A brief summary of this scene is John Proctor, with evidence from Mary Warren is trying to prove to the court that his wife is innocent of witchcraft, and that Abigail (a sixteen year old girl who is accusing Elizabeth Proctor of this deed) is a liar.
5 Paragraph On The Crucible Essay Sample
Abigail is in a very powerful position in the town of Salem and has had many individuals hanged due to her accusing them of trafficking with the devil, the reason she has this sort of power for such a young girl is for two reasons, firstly Abigail realises that there is no evidence to prove otherwise if she indicts a member of Salem of trafficking with the devil, so effectively it is her word against no ones; secondly as the town of Salem is so strictly religious (Hale)”You have confessed yourself to witchcraft, and that speaks a wish to come to heaven’s side. And we will bless you”.
The Crucible By Arthur Miller The Crucible By Arthur Miller The Crucible By Arthur Miller
At least once a page a character refers to God or the Devil, and John Proctor as he does not agree with the way that Reverend Parris preaches the Bible and sermons, he refuses to go to church because of this he is severely frowned upon. Due to this extremely strict religious community the town of Salem believe that God speaks through the young in this case Abigail; and if anyone dared to argue against God in Salem they would be hanged immediately. Her entrance in this scene is extraordinary as it is so unexpected. She begins by saying “You will not! Begone! Begone!” while she is saying this she appears to be staring at a ledge in the courtroom, the thing she is speaking to we later find out to be a yellow bird controlled by Mary or so Abigail says.
There are many reasons why this scene fascinates me, as there is one main argument going on in this scene between Abigail and Mary I find it so interesting the contrast between these two girls, both the same age and growing up in Salem. Abigail is very clever we can see this as she manipulates the town of Salem against people, she is extremely strong and the power she has enables her to get out of many difficult situations;(Abigail) “I want to open myself! I want the light of God; I want the sweet love of Jesus! I danced with the Devil….I saw Sarah Good with the Devil”. These sudden outbursts by Abigail make me speculate why she accuses all these people. Later on in the play we can see Abigail points the finger at people she has a problem with in Salem “Who accused her [Elizabeth Proctor]? Abigail…..”
Abigail has a clear motive for accusing Elizabeth, as Abigail and John Proctor (Elizabeth’s husband) had had an affair and Abigail wanted John ‘all to herself’ and therefore had to get rid of Elizabeth. However at the beginning of the play Abigail’s accusations are completely haphazard and I am not completely sure why she blames them. Perhaps it is partly due to the fact that Abigail witnessed her parents getting killed by Indians so has been forced to be strong, but I believe not only is Abigail doing this for attention, but also personally I feel Abigail thinks it is amusing playing around with the court and the Salem public, and she also enjoys the power she receives. Mary is very timid and quiet and unlike Abigail likes no attention. Abigail has the ability to use girls like this in Salem as effectively her tools, and Mary knows this, this is why in this scene Mary is so fearful as she is not sure what Abigail has got up her sleeve.
This scene also intrigues me as we see a complete change in personality in Hale, who arrived in Salem eager to set law and order and abolish witchcraft and Devil worship, “When the Devil comes to you does he ever come with another person?” Although now Hale is pleading with the Danforth to let Elizabeth Proctor go “I beg you, stop now before another is condemned…..I believe him now.” This change in views was very sudden and very unexpected, and during this scene becomes totally behind John Proctor and even endangers himself by calling Abigail a liar; “This girl has always struck me false!” This is very unsafe because Abigail is in by far the higher status with Danforth supporting her as when Abigail pretends under oath that Mary has transformed herself into a bird Danforth totally believes Abigail is telling the truth “Mary Warren! Draw your spirit out of them.”
Although Elizabeth Proctor only appears once in this scene she is vital to it. Proctor has confessed to having slept with Abigail (whom was a servant at the Proctors’ household), Abigail denies all knowledge of it, Proctor to prove she is a liar calls on Elizabeth to tell the court about the affair. However, Elizabeth cannot look at John at all. All throughout the play Elizabeth is a very honest woman and prides herself on being so.
The outcome of the play is resting on Elizabeth’s response to “Is your husband a lecher!” this is what makes this scene so dramatic from the start as the audience have totally no idea what Elizabeth is going to say, so the scene is full of tension. At first Elizabeth avoids answering the question and simply says, “My husband is a goodly man.” Then Elizabeth blames herself; “I came to think he fancied her.
And one night I lost my wits and put her out on the highroad.” This shows a different side to Elizabeth as during the play she does not reveal much about her emotions right until the very end of the play, so here she is opening up and saying her jealousy is the cause of Abigail being sacked from the house. Eventually Elizabeth is forced to answer as Danforth is being very harsh on her and demands an answer. Of course now the suspense of the scene is great and in answer to Danforth’s question she states faintly “No, sir.” This shows how much Elizabeth loves John, as she was willing to give up her ‘name’ and lie under oath not only to the court but also to God. What makes this part of the scene so tragic is Elizabeth lied to all these people for the good of her husband, but all John Proctor wanted Elizabeth to do was to tell the truth about the affair.