Free Essays on The Crucible by Arthur Miller

1. In The Crucible, two characters that serve as a foil for each other are Elizabeth Proctor and Abigail. Elizabeth Proctor is known as an honest woman, while Abigail is consistently seen as a dishonest person whose lies result in the widespread paranoia of the Salem witch trials. For instance, after she dances in the forest with other girls, she forbids them from telling the townsfolk about it and accuses other people of witchcraft, which leads to their deaths. Another example is the fact that she had an affair with John Proctor, Elizabeth’s husband, and tries to conceal it because she does not want her reputation to get ruined. Her motive for accusing others of witchcraft is because she wants to get rid of Elizabeth so that she could be John’s “perfect wife,” and because she does not want to get in trouble. Abigail is the perfect foil for anyone who is even slightly honest.

Elizabeth, on the other hand, “have never lied.” John Proctor said to Danforth, “There are them that cannot sing, and them that cannot weep--my wife cannot lie.” She fires Abigail as her servant when she finds out about an affair between Abigail and her husband. The only time she lies is when she denies her husband having an affair to Danforth in order to save his reputation. Abigail represents the human in every Puritan, while Elizabeth is the model Puritan. Although Elizabeth has her flaws, her honesty brings out the liar in Abigail, and the Abigail’s deceiving nature makes Elizabeth seem like a saint.

2. Arthur Miller, the author of The Crucible, lived during the Red Scare, which was anti-Communist as the Salem witch trials were anti-witches. The whole book is a symbol of two events that happened in history. The Red Scare and McCarthyism both serve as symbols of the Salem witch trials, which makes it an allegory. Although the play is based off of the witch trials during seventeenth century New England, the author meant for it to address his concern for the Red Scare in an indirect way. For example, just like the witch trials accusing people of witchcraft, Americans during the Red Scare accused others of being pro-Communist. The same widespread paranoia occurred as a result.

Not everything is as simple as that though. There were no actual witches in Salem, but there were pro-Communists during the Red Scare. However, they both falsely accused many innocent people.
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