In The Crucible, Arthur Miller shows that the tragedy of the Salem Witch Trials stems from human failings, particularly the need for vengeance, greed, and fear. Abigail Williams is an example of all three. Her fear prompts her to first accuse random women, her need for vengeance directs her toward Elizabeth, and her greed for power affects the lives of everyone around her. Individual flaws, when acted on collectively, inevitably cause the downfall of Salem.
The fear of Satan in Salem and him acting in the world was a major contributor to the cause of the Salem Witch Trials because this is what led to the other causes of it. It is believed that the main cause that led to the numerous accusations was when Tituba had confessed which means that Satan had recruited people as new witches. Since she confessed then the judges and the people of Salem believed that there must be more like her leading to the many false accusations and even numerous deaths. Other smaller events leading to the trials is bored children and disputes between people of the community that led to more accusations and more deaths. What made all of this worse is that the courts allowed for spectral evidence to be used in court and multiple people were wronged and sentenced to death.
Motives of revenge, greed, and peer pressure contribute to the hysteria and hangings in the Salem Witch Trials. Just one motive that contributed to the chaos was revenge. Many examples of revenge pop up throughout the book. It is human nature for a person to seek revenge for a wrongdoing of another person. Abigail seeks revenge for the Proctors, because of John marrying Elizabeth instead of Abigail, and Abigail follows through with her revenge by accusing Elizabeth of witchcraft.
The fear of Satan in Salem and him acting in the world was a major contributor to the cause of the Salem Witch Trials because this was what led to the other causes of it. It is believed that the main cause that led to the numerous accusations was when Tituba had confessed which means that Satan had recruited people as new witches. Since she confessed the judges and the people of Salem believed that there must be others like her, leading to the numerous false accusations and deaths. Other smaller events leading to the start of the trials are bored children and disputes between people of the community that led to more accusations and deaths. What made all of this worse was that the courts allowed for spectral evidence to be used in court and multiple people were wronged and sentenced to death.
Abigail lies to save herself by giving the names of others to be killed. “You drank a charm to kill Goody Proctor!” (88). Abigail also uses threats of violence and the thought of her actually knowing some real witchcraft to scare them into not speaking up about what was really going on with her. She is very evil, and throughout the novel driven t... ... middle of paper ... ...imation of irony considering the prodigious amounts of lies are told in order to “protect” the court and the people of Salem. The process of proving the guilty and finding the innocent involved with witchcraft has a lot to do with the greed, selfishness and personal grudges that the characters display throughout the trials.
That being said it is understandable at this point how many people were arrested for witch-craft, is it not? To add onto this these self-proclaimed tests included things such as spectral evidence, touch tests, and the discovery of a witch mark (as stated above), or any physical evidence of strange behavior. The last one is mostly likely just a sign of how someone not in the higher parts of society... ... middle of paper ... ...hat they would have found something else to use to kill the people that they wanted to. This play and overall what happened in history in Salem was a sad yet somehow inevitable even that occurred because of jealousy, betrayal, and in a way just human stupidity so even though a great deal of people died, maybe before their time, the people that were behind this occurring probably would have found different methods to gain what they wanted. So really can you blame the people in this town even though they used fear tactics, killed people, and possibly ruined many people’s lives for simply following their own twisted version of the human behavior?
A crucible is defined as a container made with metal or refectory material used for heating substances to a high temperature, but it can also be defined as a severe test or trial. So, how do witch hunts relate to both definitions? Back in 1641 England made witch craft a capital crime, so in 1692 when Abigail Williams claimed that she had seen women in her village working alongside the devil you can only imagine the hysteria and problems that came along with the false accusations and the beliefs of the puritan lifestyle. So this brings us to the point of how lifestyle and the social norms form witch hunts. It seems to be human nature to fear what we do not know and with fear comes hysteria which leads to mob mentality that causes mass amounts of people to put blame on those who they have known for a long time.
Thus the very thought of a witch, someone who had infiltrated a virtuous community to carry out their own sinister agenda, struck fear into the hearts of every Puritan who actively subscribed to the religious teachings of the time. Again, in Salem, the antipodal perspectives between light and darkness, God and Lucifer, purity and corruption, are responsible for the extremity of the situation; the same desire to rid the community of a perpetrator, this time unbeknownst, in conjunction with the entire town’s apparent conformity constructed a recipe for the terror and hysteria that accompanied the trials. Miller expounds upon such an idea, relaying that “So now they and their church found it necessary to deny any other sect its freedom, lest their New Jerusalem be defiled and corrupted by wrong ways and deceitful ideas” (Miller 5). This comment directly reflects the xenophobia present in Salem at the time of the trials, as the community’s apparent desire to purge itself essentially echoes the onset of the foreign concepts of individuality and religious independence. Additionally, such foreign concepts are reflected by Paris’s conviction that “a wide opinion’s running in the parish that the Devil may be among us, and I would satisfy them that they are wrong” (Miller 27).
I believe that Abigail Williams is to blame for turning the town of Salem against many people, and I think it is her fault that several people were killed. Abigail Williams sends the town into a state of hysteria by accusing men and women of practicing the satanic art of witchcraft. Abigail’s flaws - her lustful desire for John Proctor, her deceptive habit of lying in order to retain her good name in the town, and her selfishness and obsessive aspiration for power – led her to be ultimately responsible for the catastrophe of the witch hunt in Salem. The first reason Abigail is to blame for the deaths of the innocent Puritans is her lustful personal ambition to be John Proctor’s wife. John and Abigail previously had an affair, which basically began the hysteria.
And well she might, for I thought of her softly. God help me, I lusted, and there is a promise in such sweat. But it is a whore 's vengeance, and you must see it now”(Miller 1259). Proctor reveals Abigail’s true motives, which were the effect, and revenge aspect to get back at Abigail for accuses his wife of false accusations. This then leads to more chaos and tension in the courtroom after Elizabeth denies lechery.