Fear And Pride In Arthur Miller's The Crucible

Improved Essays
The years of 1692 and 1693 were a confusing period of unwarranted persecution and punishment in the small town of Salem, Massachusetts. Arthur Miller’s The Crucible is a historically fictitious play that depicts the disarray and corruption of the time. When a group of girls are caught scandalously dancing in the woods, they turn to accusing others of witchcraft to save themselves. The story portrays that people will perpetuate and defend their mistakes out of fear, shame, or pride. This timeless theme is ever-present in the story, and it is displayed by Mary Warren’s looming fear, Abigail William’s daunting shame, and Judge Danforth’s selfish pride. Mary Warren is a prime example of how fear can lead a person to defend their past wrongs. She …show more content…
The judge likes being in a position of power and making influential decisions. The particular decisions he has made in Salem have been huge. His rulings have imprisoned countless people, and when everything is said and done, 20 people have been hanged. The town has been satisfied with the rulings until upstanding citizens are sent to the gallows. Rebecca Nurse, Martha Corey, and John Proctor are all scheduled to hang together. The entire town thinks of these people with high opinions, and very few believe any have anything to do with witchcraft. In addition, Abigail Williams has just run away with all her uncle’s money. She was desperate because she realized her testimony was weakening. John Hale also believes Nurse, Corey, and Proctor are innocent, and he attempts to convince Danforth to pardon them. The proud judge refuses: “You misunderstand, sir; I cannot pardon these when twelve are already hanged for the same crime. It is not just” (Miller 1324). Danforth refuses to save three innocent lives because his pride is on the line. He knows that if he allows these three condemned people to live, the town will question his previous rulings. The 12 people who have been executed were mistakes, and Danforth knows that, but he continues to perpetuate his errors and kill the innocent. When John Proctor initially confesses to witchcraft, Danforth is filled with relief: “Praise to God, man, praise to God; you shall be blessed in Heaven for this” (Miller 1330). Danforth believes that if one of the condemned admits to witchcraft, Salem’s faith in the court rulings will be restored. However, Proctor soon reveals that he was lying with the hopes of saving his life. When Proctor proclaims his innocence, he is sentenced to hang. Judge Danforth defends and continues his mistakes out of his selfish

Related Documents

  • Improved Essays

    Miller referred to her as the “human center of all this turmoil” (3) when she began accusing women in the town of witchcraft. Fear is what gave Abigail power over the town. The other townspeople were too afraid to accuse Abigail of false convictions for fear of being charged and hung as witches themselves. People betrayed neighbors either for their own safety or even for acquisition of land in some cases. The social morals of the town were muted with there a balancing act between right and wrong.…

    • 688 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    In the play The Crucible by Arthur Miller, the author uses the main character John Proctor to portray courage in times of adversity while others cower. Miller uses Proctor's character shows that standing for what you believe in is the right thing to do, even if personal sacrifices have to be made. With all the different trials that the characters have to overcome with many of the towns people in jail and the trial of Salem, Miller shows how to be courageous during hard times and how there will always be people that will cower. John proctor shows great courage in the play when he sacrifices his life and reputation for the one he loves. In Act 3, Scene 3 the townspeople are in the courtroom to determine what will happen to the ones accused, While Proctors trying to convince the people that his wife is a good woman and she does not lie, he has Mary Warren to back him, but that backfires when all the girls turn against Mary, saying she was the cause of the witchcraft in the court, Proctor being…

    • 826 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Rebecca knows the citizens of Salem are not her judge and that she feels no need to lie for their forgiveness. In addition, Rebecca and Proctor are about to be hung and she attempts to comfort him. She says to John, “Let you fear nothing! Another judgment waits us all!” (240).…

    • 1219 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    The Crucible’s Blind Truth Arthur Miller’s portrayal of mass hysteria accurately depicts the enormity of unjudicial falsehoods from a communal perspective. The Crucible’s setting is in the small town of Salem, Massachusetts in 1692 when the controversial witch trials occurred. Parallel similarities arise to the way in which the Red Scare affected the people of the 1950s. Many of which became fully blind to truth of who was at fault for this mass hysteria. In Arthur Miller’s play, The Crucible, Elizabeth Proctor, Judge Danforth, and Abigail Williams are largely blind to the truth that holds them back from achieving true justice.…

    • 926 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    American Playwright, Arthur Miller, in his allegorical play, The Crucible, recounts a story of the Salem witch trials which took place between 1692 and 1693 in Salem, Massachusetts. Miller’s purpose is to narrate a fictional account of a story of the Salem witch trials in third-person omniscient as a metaphorical statement against the spread of McCarthyism during the 1950s in America. In order to appeal to similar feelings and experience in his audience, a critical tone is adopted. Miller begins his allegorical play by acknowledging that John Proctor tries to obtain an understanding among parties in a discussion by pointing out simple facts. In Act 1 with Reverend Parris and further in the text with Putnam Miller displays this.…

    • 743 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Fear in The Crucible Fear in today 's society causes you to become anxious and emotional. Fear is only in your mind. It can cause people to be lead in the wrong direction. In the story The Crucible, people act out of fear. Basically anyone could get accused of being witches.…

    • 1056 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Between the months of February 1692 and and May 1693 in Massachusetts there was a up bringing of rumors of witchcraft in the small town of Salem. In “ The Crucible “ by Arthur Miller revenge is shown through characters, fear is shown through plot , and hysteria is shown through theme. Fear is shown through plot by the lie that has gone too far and is ruining people's lives on telling the truth. In one instance John Proctor is taking Mary Warren to court to confess she lied about everything and so the girls. “ I cannot lie no more.…

    • 739 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Proctor evidently comes to realize that he values integrity and moral justice more than his reputation and even his life. At first, he accepts his conviction of being hanged because he knows he has no way out of it, but changes his mind after his wife Elizabeth’s persuading. His mindset was that since he already committed a sin, therefore he wouldn’t go to heaven like Rebecca Nurse. He believes that one more lie cannot send him to Hell twice, so he chooses to lie and delay going to hell—the same consequence. He is cooperative and confesses that he has seen the Devil, but after Danforth’s asks him whether he had seen other people with the Devil, he loses his patience.…

    • 1111 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    John Proctor is a noble and well-respected man living in the small town of Salem in Massachusetts with his wife, Elizabeth, and their three children. The citizens of Salem view John Proctor as an honourable man and a voice of reason. The truth, however, is that John Proctor exhibits one fatal…

    • 1319 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    How the Powerless Became Powerful in the Play “The crucible” Over the years witchcraft has been experienced in different parts of the world. Although, it is usually seen as a thing of the past, in “The Crucible” drama of 1953 , Arthur Miller demonstrates how witchcraft still exist in the current society and the position people take concerning those involved in it. The play dates back to 1692 in a place known as Salem part of Massachusetts where different characters are revealed and each one of them plays a vital role in this hilarious play. Among the themes elaborated in the play is the theme of power which Miller portrays through several characters in the play. There are those who started powerless and ended up very powerful while on the other hand, some started powerful and at last they seem toothless.…

    • 1133 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    The following statement, “The crucible is essentially about courage, weakness, and truth,” is correct. In the crucible the attributes that the characters show/have aren't necessarily the best, yet some show the attribute of courage, Mary Warren and John Proctor show this attribute. Other times some characters show the trait of weakness, those characters are John Proctor, Mary Warren, and Ann Putnam. There is a lot of both those characteristics, but what mostly lacks in this play is one simple thing, the truth. Abigail Williams is a perfect example of this.…

    • 1202 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Imagine being killed for a crime you did not commit. Unjust people out of fear, shame, or pride will perpetuate and defend their mistakes. The Crucible written by Arthur Miller takes place during the Salem Witch Trials. Abigail Williams, a very naughty teen, is caught with her friends dancing naked in the woods during the nighttime. These acts are considered signs of witchcraft.…

    • 1264 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Can you imagine the people you love, your family or your neighbors, dying one by one around you? How would you react in a reality of witch accusations and inevitable deaths in a place you call home? Near and in Salem, Massachusetts, 1692, a series of various convictions of witchcraft led to the executions that are now infamously known as the Salem Witch Trials. The main fuel behind this fire of violence is made apparent in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible to be the effects of hysteria and paranoia rooted from fear. Hysteria is defined as a condition affecting a group of people, characterized by mostly anxiety and excitement, irrational behavior or inexplicable symptoms of illness.…

    • 1151 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Although humans develop a strong sense of logic and rationality through both real-life experiences and education, they are, at heart, social beings. The ability to connect with others is what allows people to create networks of thriving civilizations. That ability, however, is a downfall in the face of hysteria. Fear disseminates throughout a community, causing human rationality to be susceptible to influence. Arthur Miller illustrates this idea through his play, The Crucible, where an early American society is torn apart by the fear of witchcraft.…

    • 1174 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Introduction and Thesis Statement – Arthur Miller’s The Crucible is a novel set in Salem, Massachusetts in 1692. Its primary focus is the description of the chaos, struggles and difficulties which arise as a result of the witch trials taking place during this time. The Crucible has been referred to as a “Morality” play. A morality play is a drama in which the characters personify qualities or concepts such a having virtues or vices and generally involves a conflict between right and wrong or good and evil from which a moral lesson may be drawn. There are numerous characters and circumstances in The Crucible that support the assertion that it does indeed represent a morality play.…

    • 740 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays