Abuse Of Power In The Crucible

1183 Words 5 Pages
Arthur Miller’s play, The Crucible, is based on the 1692 Salem witch trials and explores the changing power relationships between the characters. To a certain extent, the play explores the idea of characters who were previously powerless, becoming empowered as a result of the trials, however, two more prevalent themes associated with this power related theme were characters losing and abusing power. Abigail and the other young girls who she drags into her story are temporarily empowered throughout the duration of the trials. The idea of loss of power, however, is carried out to a greater degree through the characters of Mr Proctor and others who were accused of witchcraft. Along with this gain in power and loss of power, abuse of power is explored …show more content…
During the Witch Trials in, The Crucible, many characters suffered diminished power profiles due to accusations of witchcraft and interrogation of reputation. An example of an individual who was confronted with this issue was John Proctor. Preceding the trials, Proctor was a highly respected and prominent member of the community of Salem. When confessed to crimes of lechery, however, he was quickly cast as a sinner. When Proctor is accused of witchcraft and has the opportunity to confess to save his life, he chooses to instead save his name and plead innocent. This decision costs Proctor his life however he would rather sacrifice that and save his dignity. This is seen by Miller’s use of repetition of ‘because’ and ‘name’ when Proctor says, “Because it is my name! Because I cannot have another in my life! Because I lie and sign myself to lies!” (p.g.143). The fact that when John, a man of authority within the Salem community, goes to court and states that Abigail has concocted this huge lie, and the court chooses to believe Abigail, a young, unmarried girl, shows Proctor’s significant loss of influence and credibility during the Salem witch trials. The themes of loss of power and abuse of power within the play, The Crucible, are more thoroughly explored than the theme of …show more content…
Abuse of power withinThe Crucible was a significant theme that contributed to the storyline and plot of the play. Many characters within the play who were elevated to temporary positions of authority tended to use this fluctuation in power to manipulate others for their own benefit and greed. Abigail was largely responsible for this as she used and abused her newfound power to accuse Elizabeth Proctor of witchcraft so she could destroy John and Elizabeth’s marriage in order to have John all to herself. Other characters that also abused their power were the Putnam’s, who accused Rebecca Nurse of witchcraft so they could gain her land and have someone to blame for their lack of healthy babies. The idea of abuse of power often goes hand in hand with the idea of characters becoming empowered, however, abuse of power was a more substantial theme throughout, The Crucible, because it was this misuse that caused the deaths and altercations and some characters whom abused power did not come from a previously powerless position. These two themes are not always linked, however, as characters such as the Deputy Danforth and Reverend Parris had always obtained a significant amount of spiritual and political power: Danforth through his involvement in the government and Parris due to the fact that Salem was a theocratic

Related Documents