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Arthur Millers The Crucible Literary Analysis and Plot

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 From politics to the dinner table, arguments are based on changing and modifying people’s opinions. Change in opinions are most often caused because of the way our minds were built; not based on what they see, but based on their beliefs. Studies have shown that our brains maneuver faster at processing opinions we agree with (bbc.com). In the play, The Crucible, Arther Miller is trying to get the message across that individuals have the tendency to be pushed or persuaded to intercede on the opinions of other people without evidence.

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Abigail Williams, the girl who was dancing in the woods with her friends to specifically summon the devil, not only changed throughout the story; in fact, she changed the towns outlook about her and the girls. Abigail may be the least complex in the play, but she clearly is the villain in the story. She accused other people of witchcraft because it benefits her by helping her get out of trouble for dancing and conjuring in the woods; it also makes her seem more powerful. In Act I, after she was caught she said, “I want to open myself! I want the light of God, I want the sweet love of Jesus! I danced for the Devil; I saw him; I wrote in his book; I go back to Jesus; I kiss His hand. I saw Sarah Good with the Devil! I saw Goody Osburn with the Devil! I saw Bridget Bishop with the devil!” (Miller). In this quote, Abigail aims to shift the blame on the others by showing her faithfulness to God also to throw the girls under the bus. After Abigail got caught, she tries to shift the focus of the town away from the dancing, and towards something much more consequential, witchcraft. All of a sudden, Abigail changes from a child playing innocent games, to a manipulative woman, accusing townspeople of conjuring spirits. In Act I, she skillfully manages to pin the whole thing on Tituba, she says “Now look you. All of you. We danced. And Tituba conjured Ruth Putnam’s dead sisters. And that is all. And mark this. Let either of you breathe a word, or the edge of a word, about the other things, and I will come to you in the black of some terrible night and I will bring a pointy reckoning that will shudder you. And you know I can do it..” (Miller 113) Abigail tries to pin it on Tituba, when clearly she is the one who thought of the idea in the first place.

John Proctor, on the other hand, a nonconformist, never accuses people of witchery and never believes it. John, a well known meritorious man for what he has done for the town; however, he never got the recognition for his adventitious work. As the people of Salem grew up, it was a tradition or practice in the society that the witches exist and everyone has to follow that belief. John did not follow everyone else; he had his own morals and beliefs. John says, “I have confessed myself! Is there no good penitence but it be public? God does not need my name nailed upon the church! God sees my name; God knows how black my sins are! It is enough!” (Miller 1163). John Proctor denies nothing. When he befalls accusation of witchery; although he knew he was not a witch, he never confessed of it. John tried to stop Abigail’s accusing rampage by confessing to adultery because he knew she was making false accusations.

Reverend Hale, who counsels the guilty witches to lie, and confesses their supposedly sins in order to save their own lives. In his change of heart and subsequent despair, Hale gains the audience’s sympathy, but not their respect. Over the course of the play, he experiences a transformation, more remarkable than that of any other character. Listening to John Proctor and Mary Warren, he becomes convinced that they, except Abigail, are telling the truth. Hale does not want to end up with the blood of innocent people on his hands, or at least innocent people who are widely respected like Rebecca Nurse and John Proctor. Reverend Hale changes his position on the witch trials because he feels determined to save Proctor from execution. Hale then becomes convinced that the court does not care about the truth. A man has just surrendered himself to the crime of lechery; they do not believe him and the court would rather charge him of witchcraft.

Throughout Arthur Miller’s play he tries to portray the message that one should not be persuaded or transmuted by another groups opinion without evidence. In The Crucible literary analysis the citizens persuade people that certain people prevail as a witch; even if the victim is not. In the town of Salem, the citizens were expected to follow everyone’s beliefs. If one did not agree, the court would declare of witchery. Although people have many different opinions or beliefs than others, everyone tends to follow the beliefs or surmise in a community.

Works Cited

  1. Mahoney, John. The Crucible, Arthur Miller. Letts Educational, 2004.
  2. “The Surprising Reason People Change Their Minds – BBC Future.” BBC News, BBC,
  3. https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20180622-the-surprising-reason-people-change-their-mi
  4. nds?ocid=global_future_rss.  

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