Personal Responsibility In Arthur Miller's The Crucible

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Sixty-one years ago, a bright man named Arthur Miller published a play that depicted the Salem Witch Trials of 1692 (Duer et al 1086). Sixty-one years later, the themes established during the play are still applicable to life today. Throughout The Crucible, many themes are present that relate to life today such as that life requires a high degree of personal integrity, individuals have responsibility to each other and society, and governments should not violate personal liberty. A high degree of personal integrity is required throughout life and within The Crucible. Personal integrity is the ability to make a choice based on the honesty of the action. Arthur Miller displays personal integrity when he describes a questioning of witchcraft from …show more content…
People feel that they are accountable for those that are around them. Proctor validates this when he presents a testament to the court and claims, “The people signing it declare their good opinion of Rebecca, and my wife, and Martha Corey” (Miller 1136). In other words, Proctor is saying that the people who signed the document believe that the three women accused are innocent. The individuals who signed the testament felt that they had a responsibility to tell the court that these women were not guilty of witchcraft because they knew the women on a personal level and knew they would never commit such a crime (Miller 1136). In a similar way, both Hale and Parris felt a sense of responsibility to the people of Salem and to society as a whole. Together the men wanted to delay the execution in order to give the accused time to confess. They felt if they were able to interact with the individuals that were accused one on one than the accused would have more of an opportunity to admit that they were guilty of witchcraft (Miller 1157). Parris tells Deputy Governor Danforth what Hale is doing by declaring, “And he pleads with them, confess their crimes and save their lives” (Miller 1156). Parris is insisting that Hale is speaking with the women that are accused and trying to get them to confess in order for them to stay alive. Parris is telling Danforth this so he …show more content…
Governments have the responsibility to maintain a country; they do not need to interfere with an individual’s personal life. However, in The Crucible, the government feels the need to disrupt people’s lives because of the accusations of witchcraft. The government illustrates its disturbance of personal lives when Ezekiel Cheever comes to the Proctor house to take Elizabeth Proctor into custody and claims, “The court bid me to search your house…” (Miller 1125). Simply put, the government sends an official to search the Proctor house for any signs of witchcraft. The government is making its decision to take Goody Proctor into custody based on an accusation made by a teenager, Abigail Williams (Miller 1125). Abigail claims that Goody Proctor sent her spirit to cause harm and that a needle found in her stomach is a direct result of Goody Proctor’s spirit. She asserts this claim by using a poppet found in the Proctor’s house as evidence. The poppet has a needle in the stomach thus Abigail claims Goody Proctor is to blame (Miller 1125). The government has little to know evidence, yet it claims Goody Proctor is guilty of witchcraft. This is a violation of personal liberty because Goody Proctor received no chance to explain herself or state that she was not guilty. Similarly, Giles Corey shows this when he will not answer to the court (Miller 1161). Giles has decided that

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