The Absence of Humanity in The Crucible and Macbeth
1662 Words7 Pages
The urge to be seen as perfect is a desire commonly found among humans. However, even some animals are not immune to such desires. A bird trying to attract the best mate in the forest by creating a perfect nest will fight to the death for a twig that it believes will make its nest excel beyond the rest. The bird will even go so far as to break the incubating eggs in a nest if it contains an item that the bird wants as its own. Similarly in humans, there are characters that strive for perfection so much so that they begin to weigh ideology above humanity. In the plays The Crucible, by Arthur Miller, and Macbeth, by Shakespeare, there are characters that fall prey to their own desire to create a perfect life or a perfect society; thus, it leads them to abandon their morals—something that makes a person human—and commit horrible acts. When individuals begin to weigh ideology above humanity, they become bitter and accusing, they begin to lose their grip on reality and they create chaos and war.
When a character strips themselves of his or her humanity for the sake of ideology, all that is left is the ability to accuse. In the plays Macbeth and The Crucible, there are characters so obsessed with accusing others that it eventually pushes those individuals to believe that there are people out to “corrupt” their perfect life or society. In The Crucible, Mary Warren, the slave of John Proctor, discusses the conviction of Sarah Good by the council to John and Elizabeth, stating that the she never “knew no commandments” (Miller, 58). In Macbeth, the tortured hero agonizes over the witches’ words, whispering to himself that:
They hail’d him father to a line of kings/ Upon my head they placed a fruitless crown/ And put a bar...
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...e of a “perfect” society, thus, giving him peace.
After the reign of such corruption, life will always be viewed differently. Weighing ideals of perfection and power over the importance of humanity is something readers will see even out of books and plays. However, in The Crucible, by Arthur Miller, and Macbeth, by Shakespeare, the books portray a very similar yet real version of society crumbling at the cost of a set of ideals. Doing so causes an individual or a group of people to become obsessed with eliminating those that would “corrupt” their idea of a perfect life or society, it causes them to lose their grip on reality and although it also causes turmoil within society, it brings an end to the suffering of others.
• Miller, Arthur. The Crucible. New York, NY: Penguin, 1996. Print.
• Shakespeare, William. Macbeth. England, N.D. Print.