Weakness, Jealousy, and Manipulation in The Crucible by Arthur Miller

Weakness, Jealousy, and Manipulation in The Crucible by Arthur Miller

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The Crucible - Weakness, Jealousy, and Manipulation

 

In every conflict there always seems to be at least one person to blame. In The Crucible by Arthur Miller, many problems arise that deal with live and death. Many innocent people in this play were hanged during the Salem Witch Trials. Of course, there are many people that may be blamed. In The Crucible, one may find Abigail Williams, The Putnams, and Mary Warren to blame. Abigail was manipulative, The Putnams were very jealous, and Mary Warren was weak-willed.

 

Although she was a smart girl, Abigail was only out for herself and her own reputation. Abigail Williams didn't only lie about witchcraft, but she forced others to join in. She was Reverend Parris's niece and believed she could get away with whatever she wanted. Abigail did not want to have to damage her reputation by having a different testimony as all the other girls, so she forced them to lie as well. While alone with the girls she said, "let either of you breathe a word, or the edge of a word about the other things, and I will come to you in the black of some terrible night and I will bring a pointy reckoning that will shudder you. And you know I can do it..." (Miller 1044). Abigail also stuck a needle in herself because she knew Goody Proctor had a poppet at her home with a needle in it. While talking to John Proctor about Abigail, Cheever remarked, "...and, stuck two inches in the flesh of her belly, she draw a needle out. And demandin' of her how she come to be so stabbed, she testify it were your wife's familiar spirit pushed it in," (Miller 1077). Abigail may have been the most prominent person to lay the blame on, but other people were guilty as well.

 

Jealousy also played a big role in who was to blame for the deaths in Salem. The Putnams were a small family, whose seven children out of eight did not survive. Mrs. Putnam was a very jealous person when it came to families, and Mr. Putnam was a very jealous person when it came to land. Goody Putnam wanted more children and was jealous of Rebecca Nurse and her large family, so she blamed her for witchcraft.

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Mr. Putnam wanted more and more land and was very greedy. He accused many people of witchcraft, and once they were hanged, he would buy their land. Mental weakness is as much to blame for these deaths as much as jealousy and manipulation.

 

Some people may have good intentions, but still cause harm by the things they do. Mary Warren was the servant for the Proctors. In her case, sewing a poppet for Elizabeth Proctor caused a lot of problems for her. During the trials, Mary sewed a poppet to give to Elizabeth as a gift. However innocent it was, it still was the underlying reason that she got accused of witchcraft. Also, during the trials Mary didn't want to tell the judge that all the girls were lying, even though she did tell Proctor. She made him look bad by lying and saying, "My name, he want my name. `I'll murder you,' he says, `if my wife hangs! We must go and overthrow the court,' he says!" (Miller 1102). Proctor was so aggravated by this that he said some things about God that he shouldn't have, and there was no tolerance for that in Salem.

 

The people in this play may have had different motives for accusing other people, and practically sentencing them to death, but the out come of all the accusations were basically the same. Innocent people died and there was more than one person to lay the blame on. In almost every conflict there is someone, or some people, to blame. In this case, it was Abigail, the Putnams, and Mary Warren.

 
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