Crucible

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Friedrich Nietzsche once said, "Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies." While this may seem paradoxical, it has an in depth meaning. Nietzsche is implying that a person's beliefs can have more severe consequences than an intentional lie. One infamous occurrence that demonstrates the quote would be the holocaust led by Adolph Hitler. He showed the Jewish population to be the reason for losing the First World War, and the people believed it. If the Germans just used the Jewish people as a scapegoat to soothe their psyche, deliberately lying to themselves, and did not actually believe it, that dark chapter in history may have been avoided. Instead they convinced themselves that the Jews were a handicap to the Aryan race, and thus, attempted to eliminate it.

Despite the evidence written above, the statement is false. As demonstrated in the inspiring play, The Crucible by Arthur Miller, Abigail Williams has been branded as a liar from the opening pages of the play.

She and other characters such as Mercy Williams, Betty Parris, and Mary Warren, whom later retracted her accusations, named many people to be associated with Lucifer. The also claimed they saw them walking with him. All of these accusations are known the reader to be false. The deliberate falsifications were responsible for the death of many people. The people believed the girls, which supports the original quote by Nietzsche, however the lies started it all and are the underlying cause of almost all similar incidents. In the incident of the holocaust, it is not clear whether Hitler actually believed in what he was preaching or was just trying to win public support. Another incident in The Crucible would be when the accusing girls feigned symptoms of satanic control by Mary Warren who was attempting to expose the truth of the matter. The girls led by Abigail, pretended to be attacked by a bird invisible to all except the girls, sent by Mary Warren, and they also claimed that she cast a shadow upon them making them shiver. This clever move by Abigail appeared to seal the fate of Abigail but she ironically defies her employer, John Proctor, whom she formerly feared. She informs the court that she was forced by Mr. Proctor to reverse her accusations and help to free Mrs. Proctor who had allegedly been seen walking with the devil. This throws Proctor into a frenzy of anger and fear. He attacks Mary Warren and renounces the church and is sentenced to death. Under this elaborate scheme, which surprisingly hadn't been planned, was the lie of a group of girls, which also ended the lives of a man and his wife.

A final nail in the coffin to demonstrate the inaccuracy of the quote by Nietzsche, is the incident in The Crucible when the courts of Salem are in session, and Goody Proctor is brought into the courtroom and queried of her knowledge of her husband having an affair with Abigail Williams. Goody Proctor knew of the occurrence, yet she lied to the judge. This white lie was an attempt to save the honor of her husband, who had already confessed unbeknownst to her. Since John Proctor had said that his wife was not capable of lying, he could no longer be trusted to tell the truth about any other matter. Goody Proctor's deliberate lie had also tarnished her word to mean nothing.

All three incidents described clearly demonstrate how Friedrich Nietzsche had made an error in his speech pertaining to The Crucible. At the base of all the happenings is a group of girls who were caught themselves committing the crime of associating with Satan. All of those caught had accused others of being coupled with Beelzebub and received no punishment. They had made an outright lie, which is the genuine nemesis of truth.