The Crucible by Arthur Miller: Characterization

Essay by YisiHigh School, 11th gradeA+, December 2004

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Arthur Miller was born in New York City on October 17, 1915. Miller composed The Crucible in the early 1950's and it used the Salem Witchcraft trials of 1692 as a response to the anti-communist "witch hunts" to which miller was accused of. Miller believed that the madness surrounding the witchcraft trials was similar to McCarthy's mission to terminate communism. The Crucible is set in a government ruled by a religious authority, in which the church and state are one. The major theme of The Crucible is reputation because various characters base their actions on protecting their reputation. In The Crucible, characterization promotes the theme.

Major characters in The Crucible are John Proctor, Reverend Hale, Elizabeth Proctor, and Abigail Williams. John Proctor's fear of loosing his good reputation enables him to give Abigail enough time to complete her revenge. Even though Proctor is a "strong man", as said by Abigail, he has a secret that he is frightened to confess.

His lust for Abigail leads to their affair, creating Abigail's hate and jealousy of John's wife, Elizabeth. Being a proud man, whose priority is reputation he only admits to the affair once his wife, Elizabeth, is accused by Abigail He than continues on to call Abigail "nothing but a whore". As the play progresses, John is more concerned with his honor and reputation, that he refuses to sign his name in guilt.

Another major character is Abigail. She manipulates everyone knowing that they will care for their reputation. The villain inside her allows her to accomplish awful things with out worry of her reputation. . She is driven by sexual desire, and no matter what it takes, she wants to be with John. She feels very powerful being able to speak in the court and get revenge...