Goodness gracious The Crucible is infuriating. It is terrifying to consider John Proctor's situation. The court had made up its mind that he had compacted with the Devil, so absolutely nothing could sway them. It was especially maddening how Abby Williams was clearly just acting. It found it shocking that the Judge did not notice that she only felt attacks when it was most convenient or when she realized people might be turning away from her side, just to get them back under her thumb. It was also completely obvious that she was describing what was happening to her so the other girls could act similarly and corroborate her accusation.
John Proctor was one of the few genuinely good men of sense in that town, and they put him in an impossible situation. He could die for sticking to the truth, or live his life as an outcast because everyone he knew believed a lie. It is disgusting how people can be so manipulative and absolutely wreck another person's life just for their own personal gain. Here I am not only referring to to Abigail, but to Mr. Putnam as well, for having his daughter accuse his neighbor so he could take his land.
There is nothing any of the accused could do to help themselves, because even if they lied and confessed, their lives would still be shattered and nothing would ever be the same. It is horrifying that anyone ever had to experience a situation like that and even more horrifying that situations like that still occur.
Nobody could blame Abigail Williams for being in love with John Proctor. She was just an innocent girl trying to find love. However, as the film progressed, her actions became increasingly outrageous. She seemed to lose control of herself, and her obsession with John swelled tremendously. Despite John arguing with her that he had no desire to be with her and that he only loved his wife, she persisted and continued to chase him. Since she was unwilling to accept John's statement, she tried to force him to love her by removing his wife from the picture.
Abigail accused Elizabeth Proctor along with several others of witchcraft, hoping to make herself the only woman in John's life. Since John is also later accused of working with the devil, he is chained up before being sent to the gallows. While he is imprisoned, Abigail goes to him and tries to convince him that they should runaway together. That is an especially ridiculous request, considering that she ruined his life in a few ways. His wife was scheduled to be hung, and if John's mind were to change because of it, he would feel even more strongly about disconnecting relations with Abigail. Meanwhile, Reverend Hale is telling the accused to confess so that they will be spared their lives. Subsequently, Abigail tries to say that she had also witnessed Reverend Hale's wife conspiring with the devil.
After she began with using Tituba as a scapegoat, her irrationality drove her to place more false claims on the innocent. By the end, she is attacking anyone that she sees as an obstacle in her path. Does anyone else believe there were other motivations behind her actions? There was a lot of mayhem going on in Salem, do you think she was the source or are there others to blame as well?
This week was definately a great week. Why? Namely because everyday I knew 8th period was going to be fantastic. It was something to look forward to in school. That is how sad my life has become. That I am so busy with school, sports, and homework, watching the Crucible in class is a major treat! However now that we have finished the movie, I see that I was a bit too harsh on the film to begin with. It's actually a pretty darn good movie, and deserves more credit than being something to get us out of normal classwork. Once we finished viewing Act 1, the rest of the movie was that much more suspensful. And just like Mr. Heidkamp promised, the ending was that much more explosive as John Proctor raced our school bell to say his final words before his death. I found myself watching the clock hoping the end was soon just because I was dying to see if the truth would be exposed. Being on the outside of Salem, I was able to believe the truth because I had not been raised with such rigid religious beliefs. But thinking back on the whole situation, had I been raised as such, I am not sure what I would believe.
The best part of the film, which actually brought tears to my eyes because I am very easily influenced by emotional movie scenes, was the closing shot, where you see the three most courageous and straight minded villagers coming together to say the "Our Father" before they hang. Actually what really got me crying was the old guy crumbling as he watched his wife hang, but then the tears just kept coming as I remembered Elizabeth being so proud of John as he became the good man she always knew he was. Though he doubted himself, and even told her something along the lines of "I cannot be a Saint and march to my death for I would rather lie and live with my black sins" in the end he drew strength from God and prayer and proved to the world that he would not let these false claims of justice tarnish his name, family, or soul. He knew he was not with the Devil, and I feel like the God that he believed in knew that too, and that was all he needed in the world. In chuch we always connect sunlight bursting through darkness as a sign of the Holy Spirit or God's strength coming to us. And I noticed that as the three innocent villagers were hung the sun was shining behind them over the ocean. This was such a powerful moment, and them saying God's prayer which proved that they were not with the Devil, otherwise they wouldn't have been able to say such. They completely stuck it to the head judge, and this was there way of convincing the rest of Salem that they had been wrongly confused. At that moment, I would have been feeling such remorse and guilt standing in that crowd watching these people die. I know the town was led in so many different directions and the truth was impossible to uncover. But at that moment, how could you not believe that John Proctor was telling the truth?
At first The Crucible seemed a little dry and complicated because it was during the Puritan time period and opened with girls dancing around the fire as if they were possessed. As we got further and further through the movie I started appreciating the complexity of the storyline.
Thats another reason why I loved it so much. It was because it wasnt predictable and that describes a good movie in my opinion. John Proctor is definetly my favorite character because of his aloofness from the community and being an individual. Showing that there wasnt a need to be extremely religous to maintain the characteristics of a good man besides the fact that he slept with Abby.
Actually John Proctor was so developed that he didnt seem like a character from the book. Arthur Miller brought the character to life. Everything he said and did was believable. That was also because Daniel Day- Lewis played him and most of his interpretations of characters are spot on. Overall, The Crucible made me realize how ridiculous black listing someone because they were a communist was.
In the movie The Crucible, Abigail Williams is a teenage girl who desperatly desire to be with John Proctor. Though from the outside she is a young and confused girl, within she posses hatred and desire for power.
Like a circus, Abigail is the ringleader of the young girls in the community. Her dominace over these girls is very present. Whenever she cracks he whip the girls follow in pursuit even when they know it is not the truth. Throughout the entire movie Abigail spreads lies that there are witches in the commity. She goes on to blame and lie about peoples encounters with spirits, as if she seeks to be cleansed be God. The other girls go along with Abigails dishonest bahavior to save themselves from conviction. For example, in the picture abo when an elderly man was accused of dealing with witchcraft Abigial started screaming there were spirits coming to her and went around the town running as if spirits were chasing her. The others followed screaming in "terror".
Abigails desire for power was all to gain the love of John Proctor. But in the way of Abigail getting her way she spares the lives of innocent people.
In the crucuible you see a lot of indiviadual vs. community. The first time you see this is when the girls are accusing everyone of witchcraft and it is all of the girls against one person.
The one person has no chance to win because they are being accused of something they didn't do by a large group that is against them. I kinda see this as the "real" witches against the accused witches because the girls doing the accusing are doing more witchcraft by accusing people then the accused woman are.
Another time you see this is when Abigail, who was accusing people, is now being shunned by the community because they think she is the devil's child because she is the main person who can see the devil. While this is happening she is being accused of being a witch herself because the people who aren't following her are not taking any of her dumb lies anymore.
All of the books weve read this semester have been criticisms of America at some point in history: The Scarlet Letter brought light upon fallacies in Puritan society, The Crucible showed us the flaws in Puritan society and during the Red Scare, Frederick Douglass exposed us to the reality of slavery and racism before the Civil War, Huckleberry Finn poked fun at the ignorance of uneducated racists, The Catcher in the Rye emphasized the "cheesy-ness" of the 1900s, and MacNolia slapped us in the face with a real look at racism in America through the eyes of a black girl growing older. That's quite a list there, and I'd say weve been taken through a pretty good chunk of American cultural history just through reading all of these novels.
Reading all of this cultural criticism and satire got me thinking about the flaws of today's society. I know we're not perfect - America is full of capitalists, elitists, and racists, just to name a few. We might not be as religiously oppressive as the Puritans, but there are still religious battles fought today, sometimes violent ones. We abolished slavery and experienced the Civil Rights movement, but that doesn't mean that race isn't an issue, and it certainly doesn't mean that other types of oppression don't exist today. While we've been reading about imperfections in American culture of the past, we should also stop to realize all of the imperfections in today's world.
This is why I truly hope that future writers will write about us, that in a hundred years English classes will be reading about the flaws in our culture, just as we are doing right now. Our world is not perfect, and it most likely never will be. Criticism in the form of literature should last as long as this world does to open humanity's eyes to the mistakes of their ancestors and make future generations analyze the flaws in their own lives.
Throughout all the novels we have read this year, most of the main characters have similarities involving problems in their life that isolate themselves from society. However, in many of the novels, the characters are able to deal with their problems, not necessarily solve it, and eventually become an even stronger character because of their experiences.
John Proctor, from The Crucible, is one example of expanding as a character. In the beginning of the play, he is the guy that secretly cheats on his wife but is also loved by everyone in town. He has everything going for him, until later in the story, when the children accuse him of witchcraft. Instead of admitting to the deed and staying alive (also considered the coward-way out of his trouble), he decides to die with dignity and stay to the truth. The fact that he would die for the truth counters his previous actions in the story when he was cheating and lying to his wife. Therefore, he grew positively as a person when he chose to die with honor.
In addition, in The Scarlet Letter’s main character, Hester, developed into a character that the audiences sympathizes with by the end of the novel. Despite the fact that Hester had an affair with Dimmesdale and was punished by being forced to wear an “A” on her clothing, she improved as a character by helping the needy. Even the townspeople began to discuss if she should be allowed to remove the “A.” Furthermore, it is implied at the end of the novel that she left in order to give Pearl a better life. Throughout Hester’s life, she built up an improved image of herself and ended her life with others’ perceptions of her at their very highest.
During the semester, the lessons and themes of the book taught me that the easy way out may not be the right way. In order to make a difference, such as Douglass (went against slavery) and Proctor (chose death), the unappealing option is the path to take in life.
By the end of The Crucible, I was convinced that Arthur Miller embedded a message in his play. To me, that message was that people do rash things during a confusing time, and it is those who stick by their wits who really are the heroes. By this, I mean to say that those who do not run away from their fears, but rather, face them, end up becoming the protagonist, or what one may call, the hero. Abigail Williams, Tituba, Mercy Lewis, Betty Parris, and all of the people of the court ran away from their fear of not knowing what was happening to the girls of Salem, and blamed it on a problem no one could control. By blaming their odd behavior on witchcraft, the people of Salem ran away from their problems rather than facing them. The girls who accused several other women of being witches were scared of the conviction of lying, and therefore, threw the spotlight on women in the Salem witchtrials. Men like John Proctor, Elizabeth Proctor, Rebecca Nurse, and Corey Giles all stood by what they believed in and hoped to send a message; they were not witches, and were not going to lie and say they were to make the fear in Salem dissipate.
People who protest the norm, or what most others are doing, usually do so because they are fighting for a cause. Martin Luther King and his followers during the Civil Rights Era fought for equal rights between those of colored race and white race. Several of people against King and his followers violently resisted their protests, and treated them with disrespect. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, or Mahatma Gandhi, fought for a separation from England's harsh and restricting rule peacefully. The British threw several of Hindus and Muslims in jail for wanting a separation from Britain. Those who are questioned often fight back violently because they are scared of losing power. This is similart to what happenned in The Crucible because those questioning the court were tortured while in jail, jailed, or hanged.
Abigail Williams, otherwise known as the the woman who started the scare in Salem, fled town. Throughout the play, she constantly accused innocent women of practicing witchcraft, and made the lives of several families a living hell. Finally, after months of torturing the citizens of Salem, she fled with her accomplice, Mercy Lewis. Now, their departure poses a question that I'm sure several of you have. Why did she leave? According to Reverend Parris and Judge Danforth, Abigail left because she was ready to start a new life in a new city and get a fresh start. However, in my opinion, she left because she felt insecure, and was worried that eventually, the truth would come out about her lying. Abigail was a coward, and was able to talk the talk, but unable to walk the walk.
I feel that this pertains to situations today becausemany people in our world are unable to face what they have begun, and walk away from their situation. What Abigail did tells us about mankind and the flaws we have as humans.
In the final seconds of The Crucible, John Proctor decides he would rather hang than lie about his affiliations with the devil. It was a desperate man's decision and he chose the more noble course of action. Although I think that the play ended really well, I still have a million questions. Did Proctor's death have any positive consequences on Salem? How did the girls react to Abby leaving? Did anyone besides Hale feel any remorse for what they'd done? I guess Miller left us with a chance to fill in our own blanks, but this is one of those stories where I just wish I could know the answers. What do you guys think happened?
Throughout the play, Crucible, we see internal conflicts in most of the characters. In Act 1 Reverend Parris has an internal conflict of wanting to protect his name rather than his daughter. During Act 4 Danforth is worried how to handle the witch trials. He knew some people were guilty off the bat, but if he let them off without a trial the town would go crazy. John Proctor is able to show us in Act 4, during the trial, that he wants justice. He puts up a fight to plead guilty, but does so to please Elizabeth. John will not lie, nor rat out his friends whom he supposedly saw speaking with the devil. He ends up tearing up the contract that Danforth wants him to sign admitting he is a witch. Proctor went to the extreme rout of how to find justice, while characters like Danforth and Parris did not do enough.
This brings up the problem of how do we as humans find a happy medium. My answer is simply that there is not a happy medium. There will always be someone unhappy with the results of a trial or rule. Just like our school. Our school puts into place tardy policies to prevent kids from constantly being late to class. Students will complain and be unhappy if the tardy policies are super strict, but teachers and parents will complain if they are losely enforced. We as humans are not perfect therefore we cannot create a happy medium.
I am currently assistant directing The Crucible with Mrs. Bayer for the second quarter little theatre show. We held auditions this week. Like any regular audition we had the auditionees read what us theatre people call sides. Side is just a fancy word for a selection of a scene from a play. We also gave the auditionees the low down on each of the characters that they were reading for. The most common scene we had the auditionees read was the scene where Betty tries to fly. We gave a description of each of the girls. We described the scene as if it was from Mean Girls. We made the connection of Abigail with Regina George. For those that have not seen the beautious Mean Girls should and need to know that Regina George is the leader of the Plastics. In the film Regina gets stuck in situation and brings the other Plastics into her problems. Unlike the Crucible the other Plastics revolt and leave Regina to fend for herself. In the Crucible Abigail has loyal "followers."
*Note that in movie; Regina George is the one eating a loaf of bread and in a pink athletic suit. (Eating has no significance to my points above)
In act Four of the Crucible, Abigail Williams, flees the scene with Mercy Lewis. At the time I was reading, I remember wondering why she chose to flee, and why take Mercy Lewis with her? It mentions Betty briefly, so we know she did not go too. And if she left Betty, and only Mercy's name was mentioned with her, I feel like I can safely assume that none of the other witch-hunting girls ran with them.
Mercy always seemed to me like Abigail's right hand woman. They are nearly the same age, and while Abigail is sly and calculative, Mercy seemed like the brawns of the operation, offering cheerily to give Betty a thump if she doesn't wake (Act 1, page 18). No matter what was going on, whatever Abby was planning, Mercy was first in line to back her up. I think that they got so many of the other girls to playact for so long because of the combined intimidation of the two of them, Abigail with her intelligence and threats, and Mercy with her willingness to enforce Abigail's rule, with violence in deemed neccessary. They really seem the scariest of all the witch-hunting girls.
So, mayhaps Abigail brought Mercy along because she felt a kindred spirit in her. Or mayhaps Abigail's plans have grown ever larger, and she needs her right hand to help her.
What do you think?
I wonder if it's just Puritans, or if witchcraft really sends everyone from small early American villages into a mad frenzy, but I distinctly remember reading as a child ( I had a strange personal library as a kid) transcripts from English and early American towns about how people reacted when witchery seemed to be afoot. In a lot of the towns or villages, most very similar to the structure of Salem, the townspeople rarely accused their neighbors/ fellow villagers of being the witch. Instead, a cow (usually female, which brings up questions about gender significance) or a pig would be put on trial, found guilty of sorcery or witchcraft, and "hung by th' necke until deade". Dogs were a common alternative, though cats, contrary to popular belief, were not. Whenever a cat was accused, it was usually accused of being the familiar of a human witch or warlock, the accomplice or even devil-tainted steed, and not the witch itself.
That there was such willingness among the villagers to accuse each other in The Crucible is startling. Where historical documents suggest that the villagers of other witch-frenzied towns were so reluctant to accuse each other, calling on common beasts of burden instead, the girls of Salem openly and willingly call out people they've known all their lives. I feel like this is a big indicator that Salem was not nearly as much the happy community that it seems to be playacting. There are clearly some underlying issues that made it easier for the girls to become the harbingers of doom with virtually no opposition.
That is the question. At least it is for "Judge" Danforth in Arthur Miller's The Crucible.
Why the quotations around Danforth's title? I think Danforth best explains it himself when he says, "I judge nothing" (91). And the truth is, he doesn't. While Danforth is supposed to hear evidence during the trials and make an unbiased decision on the innocence of the defendant, there's nothing unbiased about what he does. He accepts only the victim's evidence, since witchcraft is an "invisible crime." He uses illogical counter-arguments to disprove the defendant's innocent pleas. Danforth is not judging or deciding anything. He's just letting the whole situation play right into Abigail Williams's hands.
And wait. If a person accused of witchcraft accuses someone else of witchcraft, she is saved? According to Salem's courts, the only way to avoid punishment by law is to lie and point fingers at others. A court is supposed to enforce the law and keep order in society, but the court in Salem has paved the way for chaos. Now everyone who wants to stay alive becomes part of a chain reaction in which anyone can be the next victim. And anyone who disagrees with the court is automatically a criminal. Apparently having an opinion is the equivalent of trying to overthrow the court, because as Danforth says, "a person is either with this court or he must be counted against it, there be no road in between" (94).
So can we call Danforth a judge, and his domain a court? Not at all.
What is the significance of the title "The Crucible?" Well an actual crucible is a piece of laboratory equipment used to heat chemical compounds to very high temperatures or to melt metal. Based off this literal definition of a crucible, two non-literal meanings of the word seem like they could also apply to the story, based on what we already know:
1) a severe test, or
2) a situation in which concentrated forces interact to cause or influence change or development.
On the surface, it's easy to realize that this is a pretty adept title for such a complex story. A crucible is a little container full of violent reactions. It sure seems like a pretty good metaphor for the violent hysteria the little village of Salem contained during the witch trials. But I find it more thought provoking than that....
What are the "concentrated forces" interacting in Salem in 1692? God? The Devil? Human desire? Deception? And remember that Miller wrote this play as an allegory for the McCarthy hearings of the 1950s. So what forces were at play in that situation? Patriotism? Communism? Censure? Free speech? And what changes or developments resulted from these situations?
This is just a tidbit, but an important tidbit we should address as we continue reading.
Politicians over the ages have used numerous techniques to promote their faction's or individual interest. One of the most famous instances known to most Americans is that of Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy. During the 1950's, contempt for communism the growing power in the east reached a high point in America, embodied in the "Red Scare". McCarthy rode this wave of fear across the nation to ultimately draw attention to America's own government, evident in his "Enemies Within" speech. As any politician would feel inclined to do, McCarthy used what pleased a large amount of the vote to dictate his political decisions. As the nation constantly worried about warfare abroad, the threat of a mal-intended entity at home fulfilled the suspicions of treachery where it was least expected. In his speech, Senator McCarthy uses fear, doctrinal difference, and differing moralities to achieve his point that communism deeply conflicts with democracy, and that the nation is plagued by "enemies within". By using multiple angles of fear, such as staggering realities, McCarthy proves effective in attacking the U.S. State Department and raising concerns of treachery by those that have been in power at home.
Arthur Miller uses The Crucible as a symbol for the Red Scare. In The Crucible, teenage girls accusedmany people in the town of Salem of being witches. Similarly, during the Red Scare hundreds of people were accused of being communist.
Almost everyone instantly believed these strong accusations because people were so frightened of witches and communists that they did not stop to consider the accusations they were making. The reason they were making these accusations was partly because of fear and additionally because by making these accusations they were put in a position of power and control. Abigail and other people accused of being witches and communist sometimes falsely agreed that they were just to escape being hung or put in prison and rejected by society.
The Crucible is a symbol of the Red Scare. They both include people falsely accusing others and doing so out of fear or the need for power, and the accused admitting to something that was not true just to avoid conflict.
As I read "The Scarlet Letter", I have seen some comparisons to both "The Things They Carried" and "The Crucible". In all of these books, characters must make life changing decisions. In both "The Crucible" and "The Things They Carried," O'Brien and Proctor must choose between shame and death. Similarly, in "The Scarlet Letter," Hester must choose between living in shame for the rest of her life and death. These books are extremely different but all three prove that all humans have decisions that will change their futures.
In "The Things They Carried", O'Brien had to choose between fleeing to Canada and going to fight in the army. If he chose to go to Canada, he would have to face the shame and embarrassment of not being brave. Family and friends would respect him less for his cowardice. If O'Brien chose to escape embarrassment, he would be risking his life. In "The Crucible," Proctor was accused of performing witchcraft and was going to be hanged. He had to decide between being hanged and the great shame of lying. If Proctor decided to lie to save his life, he would have the shame of a lie hanging over his head for the rest of his life. The shame would ruin his own life and his children's lives. If he chose to be hanged, he would still be ruining his and his family's lives.
"Therefore, first allowing her to pass, they pursued her at a distance with shrill cries, and the utterance of a word that had no distinct purport to their own minds, but was none the less terrible to her, as proceeding from lips that babbled it unconsciously. It seemed to argue so wide a diffusion of her shame, that all nature knew of it."(59)
In "The Scarlet Letter," shame defines Hester's life. She lives in the solitary cottage, she continues to wear the scarlet letter, and she lets people say rude things to her, all because of her shame. She doesn't try to interact with society because she knows that no one would want to interact with someone so sinful. Hester begins to sew and help the poor to atone her sin.
Since she is so strong, Hester chooses life with shame over death. Her life seems miserable but she continues on with her head held high. Others, like Proctor, were not strong enough to defy their shame but Hester manages to get by.
Abigail, looking about in the air, clasping her arms about her as though cold: I-I know not. A wind, a cold wind, has come. Her eyes fall on Mary Warren.
Mary Warren: Abby!
Mercy Lewis, shivering: Your Honor, I freeze! (108)
I understand Proctor's frustration in Act Three, because I feel the same way. It is so blatantly obvious that the girls are following the leader. I can imagine Abigail telling her girls to repeat everything she does, which to me seems too childish to be believed, but it is believed because of the mass sentiment of fear. This fear is both individual and communal. It is individually because everyone is scared that they are either going to be persecuted or scared of being touched by Satan. In my opinion, one reason for why these witch trials happened in Salem was because it was a Puritan community. Puritans came to America for their 'city on a hill', the perfect community. Seeing a flaw in this perfect society caused hysteria.
Mary Warren felt pressure to be like the other girls and follow Abigail by blaming Proctor once she realized Danforth was believing everything Abigail and the the girls were doing. It makes sense for young girls to follow the crowd. It is seen everyday at all ages of girls, just not to the extent of lying in court. People are scared of being out casted and alone, and in the girls of Salem's case, dead.
I think the reason people, including myself, became frustrated with the situation of the Salem With Trials,with the large number of people following the liars, is because some of us still hope that deep down, everyone has some good and that it is human nature to be good. I do not think that is true though, I agree with Thomas Hobbes' belief that self-preservation is the motivating factor behind human nature. Abigail's actions were in vengeance, but it seems to me that everyone else that pretended to be affected by a witch was self-preservation.
Arthur Miller's play The Crucible was written to show the witch trials in Salem, Massachusetts in 1692. It not only represented this era but also the McCarthy era that Miller first-hand experienced. Both of these issues were emphasized throughout Miller's play but by the end of the Arthur Miller's play, I realized that the play made a generalization about human nature in the bounds of authorities and higher powers.
The play showed a group of girls that falsely accused many villagers in Salem. The town of Salem was no longer seen as a town of quite Puritans, but as a town filled with witches, devils, and confusion. During the trials Cheever says, "There be so many cows wanderin' the highroads" which emphasizes how Salem is compete chaos(125). The chaotic town was no longer peaceful, and all this commotion did not settle down. Why did this happen? If the town had solved its issues of bewitchment, by capturing the "guilty", why was the town slowly falling apart? This is an interesting question that I found myself asking after Elizabeth tells the story of Giles dying,
"Great stones that lay upon his chest until he plead aye or nay. They say he give them but two words, ‘More weight,' he says" (135).
Giles was killed for not speaking when asked to in court. Despite being innocent, he was killed unjustly. The people to blame are the authorities who did this to Giles. Giles stood next to what he believed while still maintaining respect for the town’s needs. Just because he would not answer the questions that the judge asked him, he was killed. The authority in Salem was unfair and mistreated innocent people. This is one of the reasons I believe that the town was falling apart.
The unfair authority is why John Proctor decided not to confess and be hung. Even after the man pleaded that he did indeed see the devil (even though in reality he did not) Danforth pried and pried him with saying that he needed to post his confession on the church doors. Proctor’s soul finally cracked and he said, “I have given you my soul; leave me my name”(143). If he plead guilty then he would be bowing down to authority and telling them that they were right, and he was wrong. This was an issue of John losing his dignity to men who had power but really did not deserve it and were not being just. This is exactly why at the end of the play, John refuses to sign the papers and is hung.
The issue of authority is still an issue today. It is either too much freedom or too little freedom. How can a society succeed with authoritative power? Is it possible, or will authority always conflict with an individual's freedom?
One striking passage that really hit me comes from the Puritans Packet. In "Whip, Pillory, and Gallows: Punishment in Puritan Massachusetts," it says, “Hangings in Massachusetts Bay became public events where large crowds of people would gather.” Now I believe that the real f word going around was not fear, but fun.
We can all agree that Salem, Massachusetts, 1692, didn’t seem like the most fun place to live during that time. First of all there were no other towns for miles. Second of all, the book shows that there isn’t much to do in Salem besides work and pray or some type of religious work. I think the accusations of being a witch were made not out of fear but out of enjoyment. People wanted others accused and convicted for the sole purpose of watching them hanged. Over a hundred people were accused and nineteen were sentenced to death. This could illustrate that people were bored and wanted a distraction from their mundane lives.
The film, Monty Python and the Wholly Grail relates to this. There is a scene in the film where a huge crowd of people try to convince a knight, the leader of the town, that a woman with a fake nose is a witch. The crowd is trying to make her out to look like a witch so they can burn here. The group made up lies and they didn’t fear her. The people just wanted to see her die and they got agitated when the knight decided to punish her with death on the charge of being a “witch.” Though this film is a comedy, my point is that public’s entertainment comes from other people’s agony.
I believe that the witch stories of Salem were allegories. The literal meaning of the story was that being called a witch was the same thing as saying, “I want to see you die.” While the symbolic part of the story is that communities need to come together during rough times. I think that the witch accusations were made to elicit excitement and entertainment and were not made out of fear.
In March of 2007, a Long Island elementary school teacher sued the Hampton Bays school district after she was fired because her administrators believed that she was a witch teaching witchcraft to her students. Her lawyer called the case a "21st century re-enactment of the Salem Witchcraft Trials." A school spokesperson said that Berrios' claim lacks merit, but in 2003 the school's principal at the time testified he believed that Berrios practiced witchcraft. "Every school that I go to interview in I have to disclose to them that I was denied tenure for enticing children into witchcraft and magic," Berrios says.
That article of news relates to The Crucible by Arthur Miller is a book and play that were based on the actual events that 1692 that led to the Salem Witch Trials. The Salem Witch Trials were a series of hearings before local magistrates to prosecute over 150 people accused of witchcraft in colonial Massachusetts. The play was written as a response to McCarthyism when the US government accused communists. In this book, Abigail and the girls are dancing in the woods. They conjure up spirits while dancing naked and they are discovered by Reverend Parris which lead to accusations of the girls being witches. To escape the punishment, they accuse other women of the town of as being witches. This leads to trials of these women with the girls as the jury.
These are both similar situations because in each, people are being accused of using witchcraft and being witches. There is no legitimate evidence of these people being witches. Witnesses exaggerate about their stories and change little details to make people see and believe things their way. In Berrios's case, she was accused from the way she looked and dressed and the things she said that had relation to religion. She was accused unfairly and was ganged up upon. In The Crucible, no one would take the time to truely hear out Abigail and the girls's reasoning and their side of the story.
In Arthur Miller's novel, The Crucible, people were wrongly accused of being witches and a good majority of them were put to death. The setting of this novel takes place in Salem Mass., in 1692, yet these types of things occur today all around the world, which leads me to ask, have we really learned anything? The answer is no; one example of people being accused on false pretenses include the McCarthy era. McCarthy was a state senator in the 1950's during a time of social unrest. People were afraid of the Communists taking over(The Red Scare) and during this time, McCarthy used the Communists as an excuse to get rid of people he didn't like and to gain power by blacklisting them. Although the blacklist isn't really an official type of list, people got the idea not to hire them if their name appeared on the list because they were "Communists." People's lives were ruined because of this, just like people's lives were ruined and/or destroyed in Salem, hundreds of years before.
So how come we haven't learned anything, after all school teaches us to hear different points of view and decide for ourselves. You can't win a case in court without evidence. How can you charged people with murder and even sentenced them to death without evidence? I know that during the Salem witch trials, they used God as a way to prove their innocence; not evidence but God. Unfortunately things like this in the world will always exist no matter how much we develop, which is why we must ask questions and maybe even be skeptical on certain issues. As a note from a fortune cookie once told me, "Skepticism is the first step towards truth." Maybe the people in Salem just needed a fortune cookie to realize that.
In Arthur Miller's The Crucible, the play takes place during the Salem Witch Trial Hysteria of 1692. Many people were accused of witchcraft without valid evidence. Lives were ruined, people were hanged and families were torn apart because of these accusations. Many people felt powerless because they had no way to prove themselves innocent of the charges of witchcraft. However, some people were empowered by the Salem Witch Trials. Individuals who were usually shunned from the community, found their voices being heard in the courtroom during the trials.
One of the main characters, Abigail Williams, was with the group of dancing girls in the woods who were caught by Reverend Parris. Abigail was an outcast in Salem because she was an orphan, unmarried and had a known affair with John Proctor. When John Proctor ends the scandalous affair, her jealously of John Proctor's wife, Elizabeth, becomes her motivation for action. Abigail was in love with John. He showed her a different side of the so-called perfect community of Salem. When he stopped the affair, she was devastated.
Abgail manupilated the dancing girls to lie about what actually happened in the woods. She also falsely accused Mary Warren to be a witch by using false evidence to prove her point. During the trial, Abigail claimed that she was working with God to point out the witches and devil worshippers in Salem, The citizens of Salem greatest fear was the defiance of God and Abgail's accusations gained the attention of the court. Using her claim that God was with her, no one doubted her accusations.
Abigail Williams rise to power through maniuplation, made me think about the things that people do and say to achieve power and popularity. Chances are we all have met or encountered a person like Abgail who manipulates the truth to gain power and respect. Many people are desperate for power, however, the real question is: What are you willing to do or say to empower yourself?
While reading stories such as The Crucible, that focus on the Salem witch trials, modern day readers tend to looks at civilians during that time as crazy. We think "who would ever accuse their neighbor of being a witch, so they would be hanged?". Thinking of something like this happening today seems unreal to us. But we can't be so sure that it has not.
For example, during 9/11, a lot of Americans stereotyped Middle-Eastern people as terrorists, just because of one group's actions. In WWII, Japanese Americans were put into concetration camps, just because of their race. Americans feared that they were harmful to the country, when they were just living their daily lives in America. This is extremely similar to what happened in Salem, MA. Innocent people were wrongly accused, and in turn their freedom and justice was sacrificed. In Salem, almost anyone, on any given day could be accused of doing witch craft.
If something like 9/11 happened now, concerning one specific group of people, the same type of situation could come about again on any race or religion of people.
These incidents did not happen too long ago. Who are we to say that something similar to the Salem witch trials will not happen again?
In the play The Crucible the whole town is basically put against each other to find out who is the true “witch”. Through out the play everyone seems to be blaming different incidents on others to get attention of themselves. Even though these accusations were all false, everyone would believe everything that was said out of fear. Everyone was afraid of the witch and without any answers there was no hope for the town to be at peace once again.
John Proctor ruined his own name by admitting his affair with Abigail. He said the reason why Abigail was asked to leave is because he had an affair with her. Even though he told the truth he was sentenced to death unless he admitted to a crime he didn’t commit and he decided to commit his sins and be saved.
John decides in the end he will confess but he will not sign the sheet that is required of him to prove to the town he had confessed. He did not believe this was fair. In a real confession no proof is needed. It is only necessary for God and the Priest to witness the confession. Also they are forcing the people to lie to save themselves. Isn’t lying a sin in itself?
John decides in the end he will confess but he will not sign the sheet that is required of him to prove to the town he had confessed. He did not believe this was fair. In a real confession no proof is needed. It is only necessary for God and the Priest to witness the confession. Also they are forcing the people to lie to save themselves. Isn’t lying a sin in itself?