The Virtuous Character of Rebecca Nurse in The Crucible by Arthur Miller

There are many characters throughout the play, The Crucible by Arthur Miller, that aren’t necessarily moral. With young girls constantly pointing their fingers, men acting to prideful that they are blind, and the lack of reason in Salem, it is hard to find one unflawed character. However, there was one virtuous character that stood out in my eyes.

Rebecca Nurse has a demeanor like no other in Salem. Her saintliness is prominent in the small town; the only people to dislike her are the Putnam’s.

The Putnam’s envy her for being so fertile, and for her husband preventing Thomas’s brother-in-law from becoming office of the minister. Although the Putnam’s hold unreasonable grudges toward this upstanding, elderly woman, Rebecca does not let that stop her from depicting her godly ways. The audience tends to favor her for many reasons. Rebecca Nurses is the equivalent to someone’s white-haired, angelic grandmother, making her a very respectable character. She is one of the few characters that actually has a rational view on the “witchery”.

When Mrs. Putnam complains about Ruth’s bewilderment and inability to eat, Rebecca responds with, “Perhaps she is not hungered yet.” (Act 1). The reason Rebecca Nurse is essential to the play is because she represents the idealistic morals of the people.

Rebecca Nurse displays plenty of righteous behaviors, one being that she was the only character to ask if Reverend Hale’s technique would hurt Betty (Act 1). Reverend Hale immediately notices Rebecca’s high-minded manner, when he comes from Beverly to Salem.

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She also has a power about her that eases the characters throughout the play, for an example John Proctor. In Act 1, she is able to calm Proctor by just saying, “Pray, John, be calm.” Her honesty is another quality that makes her so notable; she is not hesitant to tell Reverend Parris that he drives the church-goers in the community away (Act 1). Unfortunately, despite all of these attributes do not stop her from being accused as a witch.

The conviction of Rebecca Nurse is so crucial to the plot of the play, because it shows how the people of Salem have lost all sense. She is, without a doubt, the most incorruptible people in the town. The fact that she was charged, plants doubt in the heads of the rest of the characters. It gives the audience a sense of disbelief, how could a good-natured woman, such as she, be a witch? Due to morals being so strong, she refuses to confess to witchcraft, and is hanged along with John Proctor.

From Rebecca Nurse’s initial scene, where she comforts the Parris family about Betty’s condition, to her innocent body being hanged in Act 4, she never let her morals be compromised. Her moral superiority makes her an excellent role model for anyone. Rebecca Nurse’s noble character will continue to live on, and enchant future audiences.

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The Virtuous Character of Rebecca Nurse in The Crucible by Arthur Miller. (2022, Dec 14). Retrieved from

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