The Crucible by Arthur Miller

1054 Words3 Pages
The crucible, written by Arthur Miller, is about the Salem witch trials and how people react to hysteria created from the fear of witches. In the play, after hysteria breaks out, the Salem government starts persecute and hang people it believes are witches. This prompts people to start to accusing people of witchcraft. Some people who accuse others of committing witchcraft are Abigail Williams and Thomas Putnam. They do not accuse people of witchcraft to stop witchcraft, but for personal gain or to hurt others. Thomas Putnam, one of the many characters who takes advantage of the witch trials, is able to use the fear of witches to bend the court to his will. Hysteria causes people to believe claims that are clearly false. This allows Putnam to persecute his enemies. He and many other are able to get away with this because hysteria driven persecutions are not run like regular courts and the fact that witchcraft is an invisible crime allows evidence to be made up. The theme of The Crucible is when any persecution is driven by fear and people can and will manipulate the system so they can gain and hurt another. Thomas Putnam takes advantage of the hysteria driven persecutions to gain more land for himself, but at the expense of others. Thomas Putnam is “ a man with many grievances” (Miller 14) and, because of this, he has a very bitter personality and cares little about others. This bitter and vindictive personality of his causes him to value himself far above others. This explains why Putnam feels little remorse for using the witch trials as a tool to for personal gain even though the in order to do so he must hurt his neighbor. In the beginning of the play while arguing with John Proctor over land, Putnam threatens, “You load ... ... middle of paper ... ...of desperation he confesses to having an affair with Abigail and then explains this is why Abigail wishes to kill Elizabeth. When the court still does not believe him he cries out, “I have rung rung the doom of my good name - you will believe me” (Miller 111). Even though John Procter ruins his honor to stop Abigail, Elizabeth is still sentenced to hang. Even though it is obvious Abigail is manipulating the court so she can murder her enemies, the court choses not to even investigate Abigail. This is because witch trials are driven by fear. Fear and hysteria causes people to believe things that are clearly false. Using this, Abigail was able to convince the court Elizabeth was a witch. Abigail uses the court system get rid of Elizabeth and sentence her to death. These developments are only possible because persecutions driven by hysteria are easily manipulated.
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