The Crucible

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 11th grade September 2001

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The Crucible The Crucible is a historical play that is based on the events of the Salem witchcraft trials that takes place in a small Puritan village in Massachusetts in 1692. Silly accusations of witchcraft by some mischievous girls gradually take possession in Salem. Many innocent people were accused and convicted of witchcraft.

When the play opens, a group of young girls such as Abigail Williams and Betty Parris were conjuring up spirits in the forest. When Reverend Samuel Parris discovers the girls dancing in the forest, his daughter, Betty Paris was frightened and fainted. Reverend Parris sends for Reverend Hale in hopes that he will confirm that there are no unnatural causes at work in Salem. Abigail Williams claims that she was a victim of witchcraft to avoid punishment. Her claims of witchcraft inflame the town that was already oppressed by its own theocracy. The other girls who were involved in the dancing also followed Abigail's footsteps and called out names of the people they have seen with the devil.

Madness ensues as the townspeople recall any strange happenings of their neighbors and cry out witchcraft.

As the play progresses, a court was set up. Many people were falsely accused by their neighbors as a method of revenge. When Abigail uses this situation to attack Rebecca Nurse, one of the best Puritans in Salem, John Proctor tries to stop the injustice. He tries to save his wife, Elizabeth Proctor, who was framed by Abigail, whom she dismissed from her service after finding her in adultery with John Proctor. John Proctor persuades Mary Warren, his servant, to confess that Abigail and the other girls were lying about everything. He even admitted to adultery with Abigail to try to discredit his wife as a witness. Unfortunately, Elizabeth, who was called in to confirm the testimony, lies for the first time and proclaims her husband did not commit adultery. Afterwards, John, himself, is accused of engaging in witchcraft and is condemned. Innocent people, such as Giles Corey and Rebecca Nurse, are accused and convicted of witchcraft on the most absurd testimony. This terrible tragedy destroyed the power of theocracy in Salem.

The person who is in the center and cause of this tragedy is Abigail Williams. She is the nucleus of all the evil in the story. I feel that she is the one to be blamed for the deaths of many innocent people. To escape punishment for dancing, she deflects the actions and blames them on someone else. She is a mean and vindictive person who always wants everything her way, no matter whom she hurts. Throughout the play, her accusations and lies cause many people pain and suffering. She didn't seem to care for any of them except John Proctor, whom she had an affair with. Abigail tried to rekindle their love and tried to take the place of Elizabeth Proctor. She tried to kill Elizabeth with a curse because she thought if Elizabeth was dead, John would marry her. Abigail grew up to be a deceitful and treacherous person. She began to accuse the townspeople of witchcraft in fear of her own life. After she and the other girls were discovered dancing in the forest, Abigail knew that they would be whipped and possibly hung. She, then, claimed that she was bewitched and began to name names of those she saw with the devil. Nothing would stop her from protecting herself. I feel that Abigail feared for her own life so much that she protected it even when John was accused of witchcraft and was sentenced to be hung. Although she loved him, she could not sacrifice herself for him. In conclusion, Abigail Williams was the cause of the witch trials and the deaths of many innocent lives. She was a horrible person who fought to get her everything her way no matter whom she hurt.