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Arthur Miller's The Crucible

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The devil is defined as being a spirit or power of evil. In the play The Crucible, by Arthur Miller, numerous citizens of Salem Village are prosecuted and convicted for having made contact with the devil. While historically, the Salem Witch Trials were an effect of greed and vengeance and are said to be false, the devil was indeed present in the town of Salem; he takes the shape of a young girl named Abigail Williams. Abigail depicts her evil spirit and coalition with the devil though her deception of anyone willing to listen, her irrational behavior, and her immoral actions, which directly defy the Puritan church. A lie is dangerous and powerful in the hands of anyone, but in a sinner’s hands, it has the potential to be fatal. Give the power to lie to one such as Abigail Williams and “thirty-nine people [may] be arrested” (Miller 56). The arrest of each of the thirty-nine Salem citizens is directly, or indirectly, at the fault of Abigail Williams because of her false statements and accusations. What may possess her to place so many lives on the line is beyond rational reasoning; but after consideration, one may come to the conclusion that Abigail has an evil soul. An evil soul is not something others can treat, or even see; this illuminates the means by which Abigail fools so many intelligent people into trusting her and feeling contrite for her. She easily denies accusations by simply promising there “[is] nothin’ more. [She swears] it” (11). So easily these lies slide off of her tongue into the innocent victims’ ears, and they believe every word. The ease of fraudulence she displays is remarkable, and it is no surprise that she sparks fear and awe in many of her young protégés and other revered members of Salem. Abigail even... ... middle of paper ... ...ong after John Proctor and other accused members of the town attempt to debunk Abigail’s act, she mysteriously “[vanishes]…she does not return and… [has] robbed [her uncle]” (126). Her blatant disregard for important aspects of Puritanism shows her lack of reverence for God; and although Abigail manages to escape prosecution in her hometown of Salem, she is no safer from hell than a true witch. Abigail defines the devil though the evil aura she casts onto those around her. Abigail became the perfect symbol for the devil in this play through lies, tricks, and lack of regard for anyone other than herself. Abigail’s accusations of witchcraft cause chaos in Salem; and many people she accuses are condemned because her vengeful accusations. It is only logical to believe that Abigail did not care about her fate because she was already damned due to her ties with the devil.
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