Free Essays on The Crucible: Hypocrisy

Free Essays on The Crucible: Hypocrisy

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The Crucible - Hypocrisy


Charles was a greedy man. He was cold hearted and never philanthropic. This "Scrooge" was the CEO of a multi-million dollar stock company in New York City. Charles often told his employees that honesty is the key to success and that he would not tolerate liars. When approached by a potential client himself, he told the client that he would be sure to consult with him before making any major decisions. As soon he left the room, however, he transferred all of the man's stock to a different holder without asking the man's permission. As long as the outcome benefited him, dishonesty was acceptable. This man's hypocrisy parallels Arthur Miller's novel about the Salem witch trials. In The Crucible, the theme of hypocrisy plagues the pages and the three characters that exemplify this theme the most are Danforth, Paris, and Mary Warren.


One character that seemed to fall into the social trap of hypocrisy is Judge Danforth. When questioning Mary Warren about her sudden decision to tell the truth, Danforth ridicules Mary when saying, "How were you instructed in your life? Do you not know that God damns all liars?" (94). The Judge sees himself as part of the "elect" which is why he believes everyone else to be ignorant. For this same reason, is unable to see his error in forcing people to lie to save their lives. When Reverend Hale fails in his attempt to pardon the accused, Danforth states, "I cannot pardon these when twelve are already hanged for the same crime. It is not just," (119). Danforth sees himself as high enough in society that he has the God-given gift to decide what will benefit the community. The Judge believes he is showing compassion in deciding what is "just" but is ignorant to the fact that this "justness" only causes unneeded deaths. Danforth's pride causes him to be blind toward his blatant hypocritical accusations.


Another main character that inherits the contagious disease of hypocrisy in Salem is Reverend Paris. When told that his niece, Betty, is in such dire condition because of "unnatural causes," Paris quickly explains, "No--no. There be no unnatural causes here. Let him look to medicine and put out all thought of unnatural causes here.

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There be none," (9). The Reverend's severe case of denial disables his ability to consider all causes of the problem. He quickly denotes the possibility of witchcraft because he believes the any person from his lineage is not susceptible to it. In the court while interrogating Mary Warren about fainting and ultimately looking for a way to accuse her of witchcraft, he exclaims, "Then you will confess, will you not?" (99). Paris is such a weak character that because Mary Warren has no relation to him, he will not falter a moment in accusing her of witchery. Paris is similar to Danforth in that he also cannot realize his hypocritical ways because of his pride. Reverend Hale only wants to display the wicked in others, unless the "others" is his family.

Mary Warren is a follower, and such as Judge Danforth and Parris resorted to hypocrisy, Mary followed. When Danforth is questioning Mary about telling the truth in court, she states, "I cannot lie no more. I am with God, I am with God," (95). Marry feels that if an authoritative figure is questioning her and there are no other influences around, then she will tell the truth. She truly believes she has changed but she does not realize that her belief will soon be tested. When feeling the pressures of Abigail's false accusations toward her, Mary yelps, "Let me go, Mr. Proctor, I cannot, I cannot--, (101). Mary's morals are frail and become altered when she realizes that if she does not pretend to be possessed, then she will be convicted. To her, being a dishonest hypocrite is not important when her fate might be in question. Mary Warren has her own selfishness to blame for her hypocrisy.


In today's era, hypocrites rule the world. It is rare to find someone who is not a hypocrite in one way or another. Often pride is the culprit in turning people into hypocrites, as it did to Danforth and Parris. When being proud is not the reason, however, greed or selfishness performs the unholy conversion as it did to Mary Warren. In Arthur Miller's The Crucible, hypocrisy was often used as an excuse to save one's life, or as an excuse to take one's life. Morals seem to be non-existent as people criticize others for one reason, and then they themselves commit the same crime.

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