The Crucible

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 11th grade October 2001

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In the play The Crucible, written by Authur Miller, the main idea is to show how accusing people is wrong and has been going on for a long time. When the play starts a group of girls are caught dancing in the woods and accused of witchcraft. The girls in turn accuse the townspeople of witchcraft. In the end many people were wrongfully accused and nineteen were killed. In the town of Salem, fear and hysteria, integrity and courage, and greed are rampant.

Throughout the story, fear and hysteria plague the town of Salem. Fear and hysteria begins to show at the beginning of the story when people start suspecting witchcraft. According to Mary Warren, "What'll we do? The village is out! I just come from the farm; the whole country's talkin' witchcraft! They'll be callin' us witches, Abby!" (Miller 18). Two instances when hysteria in the town heightened are when Abby started accusing people in the town of witchcraft, and when Abby blamed Goody Proctor for practicing witchcraft, which resulted in her being sentenced to jail.

Mary Warren is fearful of the girls when Proctor asks her to go to court with him. In fear of going to court against the girls, Mary Warren says, "I cannot, they'll turn on me" (Miller 80).

Throughout the hanging and trials some characters like Giles Corey and John Procter displayed courage and integrity. Giles showed great courage when he wouldn't give his informant's name, if there ever were an informant, even while being crushed by stones. Proctor's courage shows through when he and Marry Warren testify before the court against Abigail and her followers. Proctor also has to reveal that he had an affair with Abigail and in doing so blackened his name with in the town. Furthermore, he had to go to the extreme and not admit to witchcraft even to save his own life. "Beguile me not! I blacken all of them when this is nailed to the church the very day they hang for silence!" explained Proctor (Miller 143).

Greed played a large role in the play. When Proctor starts criticizing Parris' preaching, Parris changes the subject to the fact that he doesn't have the fire wood that was provided to him in his contract for working with the church. As indicated by Parris, "Where is my wood? My contract provides I be supplied with all my firewood. I am waiting since November for a stick, and even in November I had to show my frost bitten hands like some London beggar!" (Miller 29). Even though the contract gives him six pounds for buying firewood, Parris thinks that this should be part of his salary and that he should just get the wood for free. Parris also shows that he is greedy when he requires that he have golden candlesticks for the church. He wouldn't stop preaching about golden candlesticks until he got them.

There is fear and hysteria in the town because innocent people are being accused of witchcraft. Proctor shows courage when he stands up for his beliefs. Parris shows his greed when he insists that he should still get his wood for free even though he received six pounds in his contract for wood.

Works Cited Miller, Arthur. The Crucible. New York: Penguin, 1981