From Sinner to Reconciler in Arthur Miller's "The Crucible"

Essay by DragonsFlameHigh School, 11th gradeA+, July 2004

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They say that you can't teach an old dog new tricks. However, what if they themselves were the only things that could change their attitudes, knowledge, or beliefs? "The passage from one state to another--in growth, in belief, in understanding, in knowledge--is a frightening process. In "The Crucible", a play written by Arthur Miller, one character by the name of John Proctor undergoes a frightening process that changes him from a self-centered sinner to a reconciled man, although he may be the only one who believes it. This process of change, which was confusing and required the admittance to himself that he was at fault, eventually leads to his "cleansing by fire" in his "crucible". Through his character, the reader finds that one must, under any circumstance, hold true to their beliefs, even though it is frowned down upon.

The first sign that begins to show John Proctor's frightening change is in his relationship with his wife, Elizabeth Proctor. Proctor has recently had a romantic liaison with his former servant, Abigail Williams. This affair goes against the accepted beliefs that one should stand faithful to one's spouse. In light of this event, as it would be with any couple, John and Elizabeth begin to grow apart from each other. Proof of the occurrence of this affair and Elizabeth's knowledge of it comes when she says, "You come so late I thought you'd gone to Salem this afternoon."(51). The inquisitive nature of her statement shows the suspicion that Elizabeth has towards her husband. In a really sound relationship, there would be much trust between husband and wife. To clarify why she says Salem is because Abigail is the one who resides in Salem and John, in saying he did not go, tries to ease the pain of such...