Passion, Lust, And Evil In Arthur Miller's The Crucible

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Passion, Lust, and Evil Puritans in the 17th century emphasized apathy in marriages. The religion devoutly believed strong emotions were the outset for sin. In Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, a passionate and hearty affair instigates a whirlwind of vengeance and accusations known as the Salem Witch Trails. Abigail Williams, a teenager in lust with her elder and former employer John Proctor, seeks vengeance on Proctor’s wife, Elizabeth, for separating her from him. The three characters’ decisions and viewpoints of evil serve as the driving factor in the play’s plotline. Miller depicts the enactment of evil as the passion and fervent emotion displayed in Abigail and Proctor’s affair. John Proctor’s sin and attraction to Abigail Williams is often …show more content…
As the symbol for evil in the play, Abigail is also used as the “destabilizing element” that is capable of causing immaculate chaos in her community (Marlow). Envy is also considered a strong emotion that is against Puritan beliefs, as well being one of the seven deadly sins. When Elizabeth learns of the affair, she breaks their ties to each other, inflaming Abigail’s furious desire for retribution. Abigail sparks the witch trials to avoid punishment for personally attempting witchcraft to kill Elizabeth. Moreover, Abigail allowed her community to express their own “long-held hatreds” and take their own revenge (Miller). Abigail was able to gain as much power over the court as she did because of her band of followers’ urgency to protect themselves as well, but Abigail was also motivated by a blend of spite and longing for Elizabeth and John Proctor respectively. Abigail’s emotional affair with Proctor caused her to embody the deadly sin of envy, attempt murder through unholy actions, and lie to an entire community, all of which Puritans consider to be crimes. Proctor recognizes Abigail’s intentions when Elizabeth is accused of witchcraft, and he calls the entire event “a whore’s vengeance” (Miller 85). This displays not only Proctor’s shame and anger toward Abigail and their relationship, but also shows how evidence her retaliation has …show more content…
As depicted by their symbols of hot and cold, the women’s opposing characteristics call to a deeper meaning of their moralities, as well as serving as a “binary simplicity for the evil whore and the virtuous wife” (Marlow). Cold represents the “judgement of God” (Marino), and therefore characterizes Elizabeth as a woman under God’s bidding. Judgement and tension coincide in Elizabeth and Proctor’s relationship as Elizabeth remains tense toward her husband because of his unfaithfulness. Elizabeth’s tension is justified because it is as God would do, but Proctor wishes his redemption from Elizabeth “as a wife, not as a God-like judge” (Marlow). This delays their reconciliation until they could both acknowledge their own sins to each other. Although Elizabeth is accused of witchcraft, she avoids punishment partially because of her pregnancy and her husband’s confession, but also because of the fact that the evidence against her did not equate to the sinless persona that fought for her innocence. She strives to be an ideal Puritan woman in her society, and because many citizens saw Elizabeth fit this mold, they did not see the possibility of her carrying the devil’s spirit. That is, all but Abigail, who attempts to use Elizabeth’s moral nature against her to win back Proctor’s affection, stating she is a “cold, sniveling woman” and claiming Elizabeth is selfish and authoritative over

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