Essay, Research Paper: Crucible By Arthur Miller Appreciation

Literature: Arthur Miller

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Thesis Statement: The purpose is to educate and display to the reader the
hysteria and injustice that can come from a group of people that thinks it's
doing the "right" thing for society in relation to The Crucible by
Arthur Miller. I. Introduction: The play is based on the real life witch hunts
that occurred in the late 1600's in Salem, Massachusetts. It shows the people's
fear of what they felt was the Devil's work and shows how a small group of
powerful people wrongly accused and killed many people out of this fear and
ignorance. Also important to the play is how Arthur Miller depicts how one
selfish, evil person like Abigail Williams can bring others down and make others
follow her to commit evil acts. These evil acts affect even the most honest
people in the town like John and Elizabeth Proctor, and Rebecca Nurse who cannot
fight the accusations made against them by those following Abigail. Those
following Abigail are considered to be holy men that are full of honesty and
justice, but the play shows that even those who are thought to be respectable
and right, like people of government or community leaders can bring death to
innocent people if they are driven by something wrong. II. Plot: The plot begins
with the inciting incident where Rev. Parris finds his niece Abigail Williams
and his daughter Betty along with his slave Tituba doing some dance in the
forest. Right when he finds them, Betty becomes sick and won't talk or open her
eyes, about this time other people's daughters become sick too. Rumors spread
that witch craft is involved in Betty's illness and the development of the plot
begins. Important to the major development of the plot is the fact that in the
forest, Abigail and the others were just playing like witches. But they were
following Abigail because she wanted to try to put a curse on a lady named
Elizabeth Proctor. Abigail was in love with Mrs. Proctor's husband, John
Proctor, and she wanted to some how get rid of Elizabeth. The problem was that
as the rumors spread about the devil Abigail went along with it and blamed the
slave woman Tituba for forcing her to join the devil. The rising action begins
when Tituba out of fear of death starts naming people that she says were with
the devil when the devil came to her. This is all a lie though because once
Abigail blamed Tituba she did not want to turn the story around and admit that
she was lying in the first place because one, she was afraid of the consequences
of such a strong lie, and two, because she saw it as an opportunity to get rid
of Elizabeth Proctor. The people of the town made everything worse when they
tried hard to find out who was teaming up with the devil. It was easier for them
to blame the devil for their problems of society than fix the problems of their
own strict way of life. So the girls involved with Abigail, like Mercy Lewis and
Mary Warren named many people of the town as witches. These people were put and
jail and would be hanged if they did not confess to the crime of devil worship
or witch craft. Another part of the developing plot is that John Proctor knows
Abigail and her friends are lying, but he is afraid to say any thing because
eight months before he had and affair with Abigail and did not want to be seen
by the town as a lecher, which means wife cheater. So, Mr. Proctor has to fight
with himself to come out and tell the truth or his wife might die because of
Abigail saying she was a witch. The climax of the play is in the court room when
John Proctor and Mary Warren finally say that Abigail is lying and nobody was
doing witch craft. But Abigail is a good actor and liar and actually turns it
around on Mr. Proctor and says he tries to get every one to worship the devil.
The court finds him guilty of devil worship and wants to hang him if he does not
confess. The falling action of the play comes when Rev. Parris comes to court
three months later and says that Abigail has stolen all his money and has left
town and he feels guilty for the people who were accused by her and hung because
of it. The court does not want to admit they were wrong though because they feel
the people will rebel if they now come out and say "sorry, we made a small
mistake". So, since they won't let Mr. Proctor go, they want him to confess
to save his life, here another mini climax occurs because he does not want to
sign a big lie. Since Mr. Proctor felt guilty about what he did in his past with
Abigail he decides that now he will save his name with his pride and refuses to
sign the confession. So the resolution comes with John Proctor's hanging, but it
does not seem like any thing was resolved, just that the people who accused the
innocent people feel very guilty with what they did. III. Characterization: I
think the best character development is the one of John Proctor, a farmer that
lived in the town. He represents a person who is not perfect but tries hard to
be responsible for his family and himself. He is a strong person who is not
afraid to go against society because of what he feels. Since he disagreed with
the Rev. Parris' sermons he didn't go to mass and at first did not get involved
with the witch hunts. This shows that he was his own person. The problem is that
this caused him to be the main one to fight the court because he was not
friendly with the people who made up the court. His motivation in the play is
the search for the truth. He values his wife's love and the concerns of his
children so he wants to be a good man and to him the truth is very important in
being a good man. His conflict though is his past affair with Abigail and
because of this he is hesitant to fight the witch hunters and expose Abigail as
a liar. But, he wants to be honest and save his wife. So he has to be truthful
and expose himself to the judgement of the town's people in order to save his
wife and the other innocent people who are accused. Mr. Proctor's friends are
only his wife and later Rev. Hale, who at first accused many people with Abigail
but then saw how she was a liar and tried to save John Proctor. The growth of
John Proctor is from some one who tries to find out who he is in the begging of
the play to a person that dies for what he believes in a society that wrongly
accuses him. In the end he had what he wanted most, integrity. He faced
judgement but died in the end with the respect of his wife and those who
originally accused him. IV. Point of View: John Proctor's view supports my
thesis statement very well because throughout the story he knew all along that
the witch hunt was based on a huge lie from Abigail Williams. So he saw the
hysteria and the injustice that was developing the entire time. He felt that the
people of the court, Rev. Parris, Rev. Hale, Judge Hawthorne, and Governor
Danforth were killing people in the name of God simply because of their fear of
evil. They jumped to believe that Abigail was right and that the devil was
responsible for all the wrong in the town. And, even though John Proctor knew
all this and he was innocent he still died from the hands of the small group of
wrong people who thought they were doing the right thing. V. Theme: The insight
to life is not to be so quick to follow the majority, they are not always right.
We should strive to think for ourselves on an individual basis, we should not
judge others because we all have faults, and we should always look out for the
hysteria that comes from the combined fears of ignorant people. We should also
realize that being an individual has bad effects sometimes and even though we
might be right we have to be brave when fighting society because we will not
always win. VI. Conclusion: I'm glad I read this play. Even though I've been
told to think for myself, I never saw such a good example of what happens when
you don't. The play also had a lot of suspense , I kept wanting to hear the
tapes to see what happened to the characters in the end, it was never boring. I
will now be more aware of what happens when people are afraid of something and
together try wildly to get rid of what they think the problem is. My older
brother said the play "showed the same mentality of the German people
during the Holocaust", and when I understood what he meant I say that it is
a lot like the part in the movie Beauty and the Beast when the character Gaston
makes every body crazy to kill the Beast just because Gaston feels he is evil.
The people did not think for them selves and believed some one else and because
of that they almost killed the Beast who was actually innocent.
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