The Crucible Enrichment

Essay by scole007High School, 11th gradeA, November 2014

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Samuel Cole

Mrs. Olson

AP English III

30 August 2014


The Crucible has more compelling argument for us today. It argues that power brings

corruption. Reverend Samuel Parris is the minister of Salem's church, disliked by many residents

because of his greedy, domineering personality. He is more concerned about his reputation than

the well­being of his sick daughter Betty. He is also more concerned about his missing niece,

Abigail Williams, and the money taken by her, than for the lives of the dead and condemned on

his conscience. The power brought on by the witch trials finally gives Parris the attention he has

been craving. Abigail Williams was previously the maid for the Proctor house, fired by Elizabeth

after her discovery of Abigail's affair with John. This gives her good reason to want to accuse

Elizabeth. She accuses many of witchcraft, starting first with the society's outcasts and gradually

moving up to respected members of the community. Finally, she accuses Elizabeth Proctor,

believing that John truly loves her and not Elizabeth. She is manipulative and charismatic,

attacking anyone who stands in her way. This idea of blaming others for one's personal benefit

has clearly eroded Abigail's conscience of reason. Mary Warren nearly confesses that she and

the other girls were lying about witchcraft until the other girls pretend that she is sending out her

spirit to them in the courtroom. This event, which could have led to her death, propels her to

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accuse John Proctor of witchcraft, stating that he forced her to lie about herself and the others.

The fact that she suddenly turned from the truth in order to save her life shows how treacherous

these girls have become. John Proctor is the only character that adamantly tries to overthrow the

lying, power­driven girls. Although he speaks his mind and stands up to Parris, he has no wish to

be a martyr and he is careful about what he says when he senses real danger. He does show

courage and boldness in his opposition to Parris and Putnam, and he fiercely resists the arrest of

his wife. He works hard to build a defense for those accused and manages to persuade Mary

Warren to tell the truth, but this success is short­lived. In prison, he eventually confesses so that

he can live with and care for his family, but finally he decides to die rather than lose his good

name and admit to witchcraft; he thus refuses to confess. He does this for the sake of his

children's reputation and because Elizabeth and others have refused to confess. He will not deny

himself. He has doubted his ability to be a good man so far, but with Elizabeth's example and

support he realizes he can be true to himself and accept death. Proctor is not affected by

corruption of power because he maintains good intentions by trying to save the innocent from

being condemned and doing what is right. It is important that we be exposed to this piece of

literature because it exposes the readers to question when should one stand up for what is right.