Archetypes in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible Essay

:: 3 Works Cited
Length: 1582 words (4.5 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Blue      
Open Document

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

When analyzing literature from an archetypal perspective, one does not simply look at the character’s behavior in that literary piece. Rather, when using the archetypal theory, one connects the traits and actions of the characters in the literary work, the settings, the surroundings, and the situations to a familiar type of literary character. In Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, the characters Abigail Williams, John Proctor, and Reverend Hale exhibit common archetypal behavior and fit into a certain archetypal figure.
Antagonist Abigail Williams, is a very demonic and cruel character. She terrorizes all those who go against her and will resort to any measure to get her way. For example, in Act One of The Crucible, Abigail and a group of girls are in the forest with the slave, Tituba, trying to conjure spirits and cast spells. Most of the girls wished for trivial things such as a boy to like them or something materialistic but Abigail wished for something harsh. She desired the death of Elizabeth Proctor. Elizabeth had done nothing wrong to Abigail, not hurt nor deceive Abigail. The sole reason Abigail wished for Goody Proctor’s death is because Abigail wanted to take her place. In that situation alone, the archetypal theory characterizes Abigail Williams as a devil figure. The devil figure is the antagonist that normally works to oppose what the protagonist or hero is doing (Melendez, “Archetype List”). The devil figure negatively affects the rest of the characters and stops at nothing to get what he or she wants.
Following Abigail’s behavior in the forest, the evil in her becomes even more evident throughout the play, supporting her devil figure characterization. In Act One, after Betty wakes up from her “illness” Betty says that sh...

... middle of paper ...

...that constantly searches for the truth although his allegiance changes throughout the play. As a final point, Arthur Miller’s The Crucible supports the archetypal theory and contains the recurring patterns that define the theory.

Works Cited

Golden, Carl. "The 12 Common Archetypes." The 12 Common Archetypes. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Dec.
Guerin, Wilfred L. A Handbook of Critical Approaches to Literature. New York: Harper & Row,
1966. Print.
Jung, C. G., and Marie-Luise Von Franz. Man and His Symbols. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1964.
Latrobe, Kathy Howard., Carolyn S. Brodie, and Maureen White. The Children's Literature
Dictionary: Definitions, Resources, and Learning Activities. New York: Neal-Schuman,
2002. Print.
Melendez, Mildred. "Archetypes List." N.p., 2002. Web. 5 Dec. 2013.
Miller, Arthur. The Crucible. New York, NY: Penguin, 1996. Print.

Click the button above to view the complete essay, speech, term paper, or research paper

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

This essay is 100% guaranteed.

Title Length Color Rating  
The Crucible by Arthur Miller Essay - The play, The Crucible by Arthur Miller, took place in Salem, Massachusetts during 1692. The people of Salem were known as Puritans, which were people who followed God, the commandments, and were required to read the Bible in their spare time. Elizabeth Proctor was known as a “good” Puritan woman, while Abigail Williams was known as what a Puritan should not be. Elizabeth and Abigail were known in the Salem community for their attitude, personality, and their actions. Elizabeth had a good personality and an even better attitude....   [tags: Crucible, Arthur Miller, ] 786 words
(2.2 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Honor in Arthur Miller's The Crucible Essay - Honor in Arthur Miller's The Crucible Honor can be defined by how one holds them in the public eye. Others may say that honor is how you live your life when none can see your actions. However defined honor can play major roles in how a person will act in a given situation. The Crucible by Arthur Miller has excellent examples of how honor can manipulate people’s decisions in times of importance. John proctor holds his moral standpoint and does not falter into the temptations of selfishness, while Elizabeth would describe honor as how a person lives their lives....   [tags: Crucible Arthur Miller] 1038 words
(3 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
The Crucible by Arthur Miller Essay - The Crucible by Arthur Miller John Proctor says, I'll tell you what's walking Salem, vengeance is walking Salem. Discuss the real evil in Salem, who contributed to it and their motives who do you blame the most. John Proctor says, "I'll tell you what's walking Salem, vengeance is walking Salem." Discuss the real evil in Salem, who contributed to it and their motives who do you blame the most. Before I begin to tell you my opinion on who was to blame, and my reasoning for saying so, I will give you a brief insight into the real point of Arthur Miller's play, The Crucible....   [tags: Arthur Miller Crucible Essays] 4988 words
(14.3 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
The Crucible by Arthur Miller Essay - The Crucible by Arthur Miller Arthur Miller was an American playwright who was born in 1915. He grew up in New York to a Jewish family. He graduated from the University of Michigan in 1938 where he began to distinguish himself as a playwright. His first plays were Honors at Dawn (1936) and No Villain (1937) which won the University of Michigan Hopwood Awards. His Death of a Salesman won the Pulitzer prize in 1949. Miller wrote The Crucible in 1953 during the McCarthy period when Americans were accusing each other of Pro-Communist beliefs....   [tags: The Crucible Arthur Miller Essays] 2316 words
(6.6 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
The Crucible by Arthur Miller Essay - The Crucible by Arthur Miller The play begins in a small town during the Salem Witch Trials of 1692. The play takes place in Salem, Massachusetts. The event takes place in the Puritan society. The community is portrayed as superstitious and gullible. The Crucible is based on a true story so the setting is real. Act 1 The Crucible starts out in the bedroom of Betty Parris, the sick daughter of the towns preacher Samuel Parris. The village people began to spread the rumor that witchcraft is the cause of Betty‘s illness....   [tags: Arthur Miller Crucible Play] 1029 words
(2.9 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Arthur Miller's "The Crucible" Essay - Arthur Miller's "The Crucible" 'The Crucible' was written in 1952 by the twentieth century American playwright Arthur Miller (1915-.) Miller was born in New York and educated at the University of Michigan where he began to write plays. Most of Miller's plays are set in contemporary America and on the whole offer a realistic portrayal of life and society and the theme of self-realization is re-current e.g. John Proctor in 'The Crucible'. 'The Crucible' was the third play Miller wrote. It is a play about the Salem Witchcraft Trials of 1692 in Salem, Massachusetts....   [tags: Arthur Miller Crucible Essays] 3343 words
(9.6 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Arthur Miller's The Crucible Essay - Arthur Miller's The Crucible Arthur Miller demonstrates the familiarities of the life he lived in the 1950's and of everyday life we live in through his plays. He communicates through his work to the way people are in society. The extreme witch hysteria deteriorated the rational and emotional stability of its citizens. This exploited the population's weakest qualities, and insecurities. The obvious breakdown in social order led to the tragedy that saw innocent souls hang on the accusation of witchcraft....   [tags: Arthur Miller Crucible Essays] 2613 words
(7.5 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Arthur Miller's The Crucible Essay - Arthur Miller's The Crucible Arthur Miller individualises characters through their style of speech in many ways. Abigail Williams, one of the main characters, is a very attractive young lady, as portrayed in the text. However, her personality is bitter spiteful and vengeful. This has been shown by the way Miller individualises her, through her speech. Abigail is very bossy and has a lot of authority; "Uncle, the rumour of witchcraft is all about: I think you'd best go down and deny it yourself....   [tags: Arthur Miller Crucible Essays] 1463 words
(4.2 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay about Arthur Miller's The Crucible - Arthur Miller's The Crucible The Crucible is based on the 'Salem Witch Trials' in 1692. In act 1 the audience find out that John Procter had an affair with Abigail Williams, who was dancing in the woods, and that she still has feelings for him. When John denies their love Abigail starts accusing people of witchcraft. Act 2 is when we meet Elizabeth Procter who gets arrested on suspicion of witchcraft. In act 3 John goes to court trying to free his wife and the others but without much luck as he gets accused of mixing with the devil....   [tags: Arthur Miller Crucible Essays] 1233 words
(3.5 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay about Arthur Miller's The Crucible - Arthur Miller's "The Crucible" 'The Crucible' was written by Arthur Miller. Arthur Miller was brought before a committee in 1956 to answer charges of 'communist sympathy' and to name the people he had had meetings with up to twenty years before. Liberal writer, film directors, actors and actresses were all called before the committee. The committee often had lists of names of people who had attended meetings yet they still forced witnesses to recite names, to see if they would comply and give the right names....   [tags: Arthur Miller Crucible Essays] 942 words
(2.7 pages)
Better Essays [preview]