When he refuses to have his confession published, she tells him “Do what you will. In Act 2, the value of reputation in Salem starts to butt heads with the power of hysteria and fear to sway people’s opinions (and vengeance to dictate their actions). 41). The original text plus a side-by-side modern translation of. This hysteria-based “evidence” of witchcraft includes the discovery of the poppet in the Proctor household with a needle in it. In The Crucible, 1600s Salem is a theocratic society based on a Puritan belief system. Danforth insists that John must know more about the Devil's dealings than he has revealed. Abigail’s presence is always rife with irony in The Crucible, as she constantly chastises others for sins she herself has committed. In a way, John welcomes the loss of his reputation because he feels so guilty about the disconnect between how he is perceived by others and the sins he has committed.

Both Hale and Proctor don't want to live with the consequences of their mistakes, so they try to ignore or undo their past actions. Essay questions that ask about themes in this straightforward way can be tricky because there's a temptation to speak in vague terms about the theme's significance. Mary Warren’s sense of self-importance has increased as a result of the perceived value of her participation in court. Both flaws led him to delay telling the truth about Abigail's fraudulent claims and their previous relationship, thus dooming himself and many others to death or imprisonment.

Yet, this surface shows numerous cracks. Well, it's not. She does not realize how misguided she is until both John and Elizabeth are accused of witchcraft and she finally flees Salem. Tituba is forced to accept her role as a pawn for those with greater authority and a stepping stone for Abigail’s ascent to power. He claims that they must not jump to conclusions based on superstition in their investigation of Betty’s affliction. How does Parris’ pride prevent him from doing anything to stop the progression of events in the play?

In the case of a play like The Crucible, themes are revealed mainly through the dialogue of the characters. 118). Angelica Frey holds an M.A. He refers to John’s refusal to confess as “a calamity,” looking past his own involvement in the larger calamity of the conviction that led John to this point. Many people confess when threatened with execution, and this only heightens the paranoid atmosphere. The hysterical atmosphere and the dramatic performances of some of the accusers cause people to believe they have seen genuine proof of witchcraft.

Parris initially insists that there are “no unnatural causes” for Betty’s illness because he fears that he will lose favor with the townspeople if witchcraft is discovered under his roof. This is a lesson in how fear can twist perceptions of reality even for those who consider themselves reasonable under normal circumstances. Hale pg. He chooses to die instead of providing a false confession because he doesn’t think life will be worth living after he is so disgraced.

At the end this act, John Proctor delivers a short monologue anticipating the imminent loss of the disguises of propriety worn by himself and other members of the Salem community. Abigail’s many deceptions are sometimes laughably ironic as she chastises others for lying even as she is spinning falsehoods. This well-intentioned mistake seals both of their fates. He believes there is a group of people in town determined to remove him from this position, and he will say and do whatever it takes to retain control. Is reputation more important than truth?

There are numerous connections between the flaws of individual characters and the overarching themes of the play that could be brought into this discussion. In telling people they must confess to their crimes or be hanged, the officials show that they have already decided the person is guilty no matter what evidence is provided in their defense. Ann Putnam jumps at any opportunity to blame supernatural forces for the deaths of her children. Abigail accuses Tituba first because Tituba is the one person below her on the ladder of power, so she makes an easy scapegoat. Miller's portrayal of women in The Crucible is a much-discussed topic. He chooses to die instead of providing a false confession because he doesn’t think life will be worth living after he is so disgraced. No one even considers Mary's statement about sticking the needle in herself. Abigail insists that she did nothing to deserve it and tries to put all the blame on Elizabeth Proctor. Though Rebecca Nurse's involvement has already been corroborated by other confessors, Danforth demands to hear it from John to confirm that John is fully committed to renouncing his supposed ties to Satan. Parris is extremely dismayed by this revelation because of the damage it will do to his reputation. The College Entrance Examination BoardTM does not endorse, nor is it affiliated in any way with the owner or any content of this site. Elizabeth is defined by her relationship to John, and Mary is pushed around by other characters (mostly men) throughout the play. The town slips further and further into chaos and paranoia until it reaches a point of total devastation. This is taken as evidence that things are really getting out of control ("if Rebecca Nurse be tainted, then nothing's left to stop the whole green world from burning." During a period where land was equal to power, characters such as Tom Putnam showed greed for land by making his daughter accuse innocent people with big plots of land in order to gain the land in sale. She admits to having performed witchcraft in hopes of ending her master’s beating, and this prompts the girls in Salem to punish many of their neighbors by accusing them. Download it for free now: hbspt.cta._relativeUrls=true;hbspt.cta.load(360031, '688715d6-bf92-47d7-8526-4c53d1f5fe7d', {}); hbspt.cta._relativeUrls=true;hbspt.cta.load(360031, '03a85984-6dfd-4a19-93c8-5f46091f5e2b', {}); Samantha is a blog content writer for PrepScholar.

Themes of The Crucible While reading The Crucible, two strong themes are guilt and hypocrisy. By using ThoughtCo, you accept our, Arthur Miller's 'The Crucible': Plot Summary, Abigail Williams of the Salem Witch Trials, "The Crucible" Character Study: Reverend John Hale, 'The Crucible' Character Study: Rebecca Nurse, A Brief History of the Salem Witchcraft Trials, Biography of Martha Corey, Last Woman Hung in the Salem Witch Trials, Tituba and The Salem Witch Trials of 1692, 'The Crucible' Character Study: Judge Danforth, Biography of Elizabeth Parris, Accuser in the Salem Witch Trials, 'The Crucible' Character Study: John Proctor, M.A., Classics, Catholic University of Milan, B.A., Classics, Catholic University of Milan.

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