These skills which were once respected as sacred were now being sought out as works of malevolence. Priests and educated doctors viewed women as threats to their practices. Women were blamed and used as scapegoats for birth defects, male impotency and lack of control of their sexual desires. Witchcraft was relentlessly thought as the work of the devil with only sinful and immoral intentions. Julio Caro Baroja explains in his book on Basque witchcraft that women who were out casted from society and unable to fulfill their womanly duties became witches as a way to compensate for her failed life.
In The Crucible, Arthur Miller shows that the tragedy of the Salem Witch Trials stems from human failings, particularly the need for vengeance, greed, and fear. Abigail Williams is an example of all three. Her fear prompts her to first accuse random women, her need for vengeance directs her toward Elizabeth, and her greed for power affects the lives of everyone around her. Individual flaws, when acted on collectively, inevitably cause the downfall of Salem.
In the play, The Crucible by Arthur Miller portrays the downfall of judgment in society when challenged by individuals willing to deceive to satisfy selfish interests. In an attempt to explain the unexplainable, the town of Salem is strongly interested to the idea of witches and devils as an excuse to make sense of tragedies such as dying infants or incurable illnesses. As a result, it is vulnerable to manipulation by greedy individuals looking to escape consequence or sustain reputation by inculcating “fear and guilt [...] in the air of Salem” (Huftel 3). Multiple characters contribute to this outbreak; however, three antagonists stand out: Abigail, Proctor and Parris, all of which spread the hysteria to fulfill personal motivations. Abigail is also motivated by a desire of revenge throughout.
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.
Mary’s previous encounters with Abigail are what lead her to think that Abigail will actually “kill” her if she goes against her orders. Mary’s reluctance to testify in court shows how deeply she cares about other people’s perceptions of her and her need to shape her actions correspondingly. Mary’s intense fear also comes out when she openly reveals Proctor’s sins to save herself from being accused for witchcraft. She does this by telling the court “You 're the Devil 's man! My name, he want my name.
The way that Puritanism worked at the time caused a very delicate line between good and bad, heaven and hell, God and the devil. So, when the girls start to act bizarre, the townspeople think that they have collaborated with the devil and have become witches. Also, the pessimistic views of the Puritans show in who they first start to accuse. The people of Salem were probably wary of the misfits in their town. Also they might have thought negatively of the peop... ... middle of paper ... ...ily happen to a Puritan because of the small margin of error that puritanism seems to give.
This is not to say that they denied the existence of supernatural evil” (Morgan). Their strict Puritan belief in the plain right and wrong clouded their senses, while resulting in the deaths of many innocent people. Unfortunately, their clouded vision is problematic since authority of Puritan society is raised on high pedestals and is seen as perfect examples for the rest of Salem. True catalysts of chaos in The Crucible are those cunning enough to break their moral ties to Puritanism to avoid the destructive punishments of a puritanical society. Abigail, “the prime mover of the Salem hysteria” (Martin), is a complex character who demonstrates her ability to manipulate beliefs and evade punishment for breaking the Puritan moral code; her role in The Crucible is a petri dish for lies and abundant fear.
Although the individuals’ personal struggles in The Crucible are brought by society, ultimately they affect society as well. Abigail’s personal desires were forbidden in society which brought her struggles, ultimately causing her to lie, and then initiating the witch trials. Mary Warren is unable to keep her personal commitment to John Proctor because of her fear of Abigail and the girls, eventually harming John Proctor. Lastly, John Proctor deals with his guilt over his affair with Abigail, and he confesses in court, but Elizabeth testifies he has not had an affair. All of these personal and social struggles are relevant to our society today because the witch trials are still a very controversial Works Cited Miller, Arthur.
Those whom step outside the boundaries set by the “Puritan society” are often accused of witchcraft and face a death sentence. Ambla, one of the main character’s in the play, “Witchcaft or Martyrs of Salem” is tried and found guilty. Ambla chooses based on her past, not to conform to the traditional woman’s role which makes her vulnerable to the unscrupulous community. The town’s leading men seize the opportunity to twist and misconstrue Ambla’s actions to fulfill their evil desires. Some of these actions include acquiring clay idols, taking nightly walks while talking to herself, and avoiding church.
( ) Just to make sure that Elizabeth will suffer for dismissing her, and that her reputation will be destroyed. Abigail also tries to frame Elizabeth for being a witch, with having Mary Warren give her a poppet. Abigail uses Mary as a pawn to frame Goody Proctor, and get her hung. This accusation ultimately leads to the death of John, all because he is not willing to love her