Psychological Criticism In Arthur Miller's Play The Crucible

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Nine critical approaches are utilized when analyzing a piece of literature in order to appeal to a variety of critics. Arthur Miller’s play The Crucible can be interpreted from numerous approaches, but one lens that is unmistakable throughout is the psychological criticism. From a psychological standpoint, one gains access to the mindset of both the author and the characters within. In addition to this, the reader also acquires a greater understanding of the motivations, behaviors, and mental state that each character possesses. Through psychological criticism, one can obtain information on a character’s motivation, the likelihood of their actions, and which behaviors are consciously made.
Early on in the play, it becomes apparent that there
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Every character in The Crucible has a backstory that becomes well-known at some point during the play. For example, Abigail mentions, “I look for John Proctor that took me from my sleep and put knowledge in my heart… And now you bid me tear the light out of my eyes? I will not, I cannot! You loved me, John Proctor, and whatever sin it is, you love me yet!” (150; Act One; lines 465-472). Abigail clearly displays her affection for John, which informs the audience of their previous affair. However, since John is married and Abigail is so obviously in love with him, she is willing to do whatever it takes to keep John to herself. Abigail even goes so far as accusing his wife of witchcraft, which leads to her imprisonment. But Abigail is not the only character seeking revenge, as Mrs. Putnam’s actions openly illustrate. Mrs. Putnam, a woman who has lost seven of her eight children, undoubtedly displays her need for vengeance when she utters, “I knew it! Goody Osburn were midwife to me three time. I begged you, Thomas, did I not? I begged him not to call Osburn because I feared her. My babies always shriveled in her hands,” (162; Act One; lines 1038-1041). Here, Mrs. Putnam demonstrates her tendency to jump to conclusions when she settles with any name she hears. Mrs. Putnam is eager to place blame on anyone for the death of her children, but will not accept that her children’s deaths were not the result of witchcraft. In a similar manner, Reverend Parris also has a background that affects his present day actions. Early on in the play, Parris states, “Abigail, I have fought here three long years to bend these stiff-necked people to me, and now, just now when some good respect is rising for me in the parish, you compromise my very character,” (144; Act One; lines 121-125). Parris recognizes that as a reverend, he is well-respected within his parish, and he fears Abigail’s
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