Arthur Miller's 'The Crucible' is a mid-20th century play telling the story of the famous Salem witch trials. The play begins with girls doing mysterious and devilish things in the woods, and amongst them: Abigail Williams, the outcast orphan niece of Reverend Parris, whom is equally disliked by the villager. She is a 17 year old girl whom has made many poor and alarming choices; she's had an affair with a married man, John Proctor, and now, has participated in the unspeakable act of witchcraft for nothing more than to seek her revenge on his wife, Elizabeth. Her character is rather simple, she is the villain; her ability to deceive, manipulate, lie, and control people drives the town to taking the lives of nineteen innocent people, and imprisoning many more. Although, why would a young lady like herself feel compelled to act so deviously in the first place?
In both pieces, the entire plot is based upon the Salem Witch Trials, connecting these together yet again. In both, it all starts with Betty Parris and Abigail becoming sick and then going insane. In I Walk in Dread, the Salem witch trials began when “ Mr. Parris returned from the lecture, their girls were suffering worse than ever. What’s more, Abigail’s and Betty’s eyes have been opened to the Invisible World. Now they can see what torments them: the figures of actual people coming to pinch and hit them”(79).
The girls are seen by Parris dancing and conjuring evil spirits in the woods. “Witches” are what the girls are called by the people of the town. After they were caught, Parris goes upstairs to call Betty, his daughter, and Abagail, his niece, but Betty will not wake. This is when the Christie 2 townspeople cry witch against her (Betty). Abagail says to her Uncle Parris, “The rumor of witchcraft is all about.” They think the devil has taken over the mind and soul of Betty and that is the reason she sleeps so soundly.
In the Town of Salem Massachusetts, 1692, a group of adolescents are caught dancing in the forest. Among the adolescents in The Crucible, Abigail Williams and Mary Warren. The girls are horrified that they have been caught dancing, a sinful act, therefore they devise a story to evade punishment: they claim to have been bewitched. The first person who they accuse of witchcraft is a the black maid, Tituba. This results in her jail sentence as well as fearful suspicion throughout the town.
If there was a wind storm and a fence was knocked down, people believed that their neighbors used witchcraft to do it. Everyone from ordinary people to the governor’s wife was accused of witchcraft. Even a pregnant woman and the most perfect puritan woman were accused. No one in the small town was safe. As one can see, the chaotic Salem Witchcraft Trials of 1692 were caused by superstition, the strict puritan lifestyle, religious beliefs, and hysteria.
The Crucible, written by Arthur Miller, is a play that takes place in the sixteen nineties during the famous but tragic witch trials. The entire community is in pandemonium yet certain characters are also fighting internal conflicts. Miller uses three characters that manifest this internal battle ever so clearly: Mary Warren whose whole world turns upside down, John Proctor who must weigh the importance of his family against his reputation and Reverend Hale who must decide whether to do his job, or do what he knows to be right. Mary Warren is a girl who is faced with this inner turmoil throughout this play. At the outset of the play she is perceived to be a very shy girl who will never speak her mind as shown when Proctor sends her home and she responds with " I'm just going home" (21).
Fear of being arrested or put to death is the key motivation in turning others in as witches. From these three human flaws, the town of Salem falls into chaos with many innocent people paying the price. Vengeance plays a key role in causing the mass hysteria of the Salem Witch Trials. Abigail Williams, who?s probably most to blame for the trials, acts out of revenge. She and John Proctor have had an affair and when Elizabeth Proctor finds out, she throws Abigail out of their house.
Then Abigail confessed that she have seen the devil communicating with other town folks and then Betty start naming people that may be involve in witchcraft, which really made the whole town go crazy. While the witch trails and accusations were happening, Eliza... ... middle of paper ... ... as Mrs. Proctor. It got to the point to where Abigail turn into witchcraft to get what she want. So therefore, John’s first downfall is his lust and having an affair with Abigail that fueled Abigail’s motivation to destroy his marriage and make John marry her. The second downfall of John is pride, toward to the end when Mary, his servant, for being a witch, falsely accused him.
As one of them falls sick, rumors start to fly that there is witchcraft going on in the woods, and that the sick girl is bewitched. Once the girls talk to each other, they become more and more frightened of being accused as witches, so Abigail starts accusing others of practicing witchcraft. The other girls all join in so that the blame will not be placed on them. In the novel, Abigail starts the accusations by saying, "I go back to Jesus; I kiss his hand. I saw Sarah Good with the Devil!
Miller uses this belief in the play at the beginning, when Betty, Abigail and ten or twelve other girls were seen dancing in the forest; this event was greatly frowned upon in the village and led to many accusations. Miller also links his characters to the Salem witchcrafts as during the witchcrafts one man was pressed to death by stones; this links to the character Giles Corey. This trumped-up witch hysteria in Salem, Massachusetts deteriorated the rational and emotional stability of its citizens. This exploited the population's weakest qualities, and insecurities. The obvious breakdown in Salem's social order led to this tragedy.