The Crucible - Revenge

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When one is done wrong in a particularly hurtful or offending way, getting revenge is sometimes thought of as the most satisfying way of regaining ones sense of self worth. This plan, however, holds an immense possibility of backfiring in ways never dreamed of. In fact, the outcome of the situation at hand is sometimes made worse than it might have been if this course of action is taken. Arthur Miller demonstrates this in his tragic play The Crucible, by showing the reader that although giving in to feelings of vengeance is easy to do, choosing the path of forgiveness often leads to better results in the long run.

The foremost way Miller relays this message is through the unethical relationship of the married John Proctor and his young servant Abigail Williams. During their affair, Abigail came to love John, and in her eyes, he loved her as well. So when Elizabeth, John’s wife, found out what had been going on and the affair was brought to an abrupt halt, Abigail believed Elizabeth to be the only thing standing in the way of the two of them leading a happy life together. John was forced to stop seeing her; otherwise he faced losing his wife and kids. Upon being alone with him for the first time since she was dismissed from their household, she noticed a change in the way he acted towards her that she wasn’t partial to and stated “I look for John Proctor that took me from my sleep and put knowledge in my heart! I never knew what pretense Salem was, I never knew the lying lessons I was taught by all these Christian women and their covenanted men! 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!” in an attempt to bring him to coming to face with the fact that deep down, he still loved her as he once had (177). Abigail simply could not accept that he did not and possibly had never loved her in the way that she believed she loved him. Rather than accepting this and that she was in the wrong for being with a married man such as himself in the first place, Abigail choose instead to seek revenge on Elizabeth, the woman in the way of her love.

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