She is then further interrogated until she gives the names of two old women in the village who, she claims, are associated with the devil. Abigail sees that Tituba has escaped punishment by naming others so she begins reciting the names of people she claims to have seen with the devil. She took for granted the fact that anything she said was treated like a gospel and would be believed, leading from one extreme to another. The judges in the play also dramatically abused their power. They thought it was their divine right and responsibility to imprison anyone suspected of being associated with the devil or witchcraft.
They jailed many innocent people for stupid reasons, whom Abigail normally pointed out. Although they believed they were protecting the community from evil by forcing out witches, in fact they were persecuting, executing and penalising the innocent. This is proved when Danforth the Deputy-Governor says, “And do you know that near to four hundred are in jail and upon my signature? ” This depicts the inability of the people of 1690’s Salem, Massachusetts to recognize evil. The most significant theme in the play is the conflict between good and evil, which is the bloodline of the play.
In a 17th century village, the inhabitants would be very close and there would be little or no secrets everyone would know everyone else’s business, which meant that everything would be discussed in and judged by the entire society. They thought that attending church every day and being a good civilian was the key to being a good pure person. If at any time they thought someone was a witch, they felt it was their sacred duty to expose and dispose of the culprit. This way they thought they were protecting and defending the community by annihilating the threat.
This was because the survival of the society largely depended on the unity and integrity of the members. Therefore, any kind of selfishness or wrongdoing must immediately be reported to the community so that the person(s) involved can be dealt with and removed from society one way or another. A lot of characters show either their morality or righteousness, which is clearly exposed throughout the play. In my personal opinion, the people showing their loyalty and integrity are the Proctors and Rebecca Nurse.
When the witchcraft issue was put forward to them, neither of the characters believed any of it, which shows their intelligence, individuality and morality. This is also shown when Rebecca is accused of indulging in contact with the devil. She immediately denies the claims and stands by her testimony. Although her reactions could still get her executed, she knew she was not to submit or give in to the charges against her; this portrays her as a mountain of great courage. The Proctors were also the characters who showed their true morality throughout the play.
John proctor is a man of trust and pride who has a strong willed and independent mind. John is loyal and loves his family very much but has a collapsing marriage; this is obvious from the beginning of the play due to his own adulterous behaviour with Abigail Williams. After the town had heard about the affair Proctor was considered an unfaithful, morally wrong and evil person. Like many others in the town, Proctor was put on trial. At first, he denied the allegations but his wife appealed and said he was never unfaithful to her. She didn’t know that John had changed his mind and confessed the truth to the court making matters worse.
It may seem questionable whether or not John Proctor was a god character. Towards the end of the play, he makes it clear that he wasn’t prepared to confess to something he hadn’t done and put his wife through the shame. At the beginning of the play, he is seen to be an unfaithful, immoral man but this all changes when he sacrifices his own life to save his wife and family. The characters that Arthur Miller succeeded in making evil were Abigail Williams and the Putmans. They continually show their immorality and stupidity throughout the play. Abigail Williams’ is expressed from her entrance into the play.
It is clear that she dominates the girls when they were in the forest that night. They followed her every command and treated her with respect like soldiers do a majors but this was only because they were scared of her. Her evil is shown when she recites the names of those she claims are associated with the devil. She fails to show regret and concern for the lives she desolates or which family she destroys. She just wants to clear her name even if it means blaming others, also the dominating power she had was like a blessing to her as every one hung on her every lie.
Abigail is the worst person in ‘The Crucible’ as she continuously shows her manipulative ways from start to end without remorse. The only person she truly cared for and adored was John Proctor, and when John ended the affair, she was left feeling devastated. She even unsuccessfully tried to keep the Proctors apart by trying to imprison Mrs Proctor. Instead, Proctor sacrificed himself to save his family. Abigail couldn’t cope so she ran away. The Putmans also significantly expressed their evil by using their position in t society to influence and control the community.
This is shown as soon as they enter the play when they use their dominating position to push Reverend Parris to tell Betty Parris’s medical state to the people waiting outside the bedroom. They persuade him to initiate a ‘Witch-hunt’ by making him believe this was right for the town’s safety. Mrs Putman is a jealous and bitter woman who let the deaths of her young children rule her life. She was the one who pointed the finger at Rebecca Nurse by accusing her of killing her babies. In my view, Mrs Putman is just as evil as Abigail; the only difference is that Abigail suffered from guilt and stress, which resulted in her running away.
Mrs Putman continued her life as usual. Surely, this is a terrible, heartless and evil woman desperate to get her revenge for the death of her children. To compensate her loss she is prepared to see an innocent person be capitally punished. She also appears to be an insensitive, inconsiderate and despicable woman who doesn’t care whose life she desolates and who suffers as long as she gets her personal happiness. Mr Putman is also an evilly shallow human being who would eagerly watch someone endure suffering as long as there was something for him to gain.
He was a man who would accuse a person of indulging in witchcraft so that once they were executed he could obtain their land. This is an evil, selfish and merciless man. He also negotiated with his daughter and her friends who they would name a witch. He also would have urged them occasionally into naming someone he didn’t like and just like his wife was never about justice. Giles Corey was the only person who ever suspected him but nothing was ever done about it. Again, this shows the power they had over the community. Both Mr and Mrs Putman were deceitful and immoral villains.
Although the play was set in Salem, Massachusetts, United States in 1692, it still has relevance to the present day. It shows that lying will only cause more trouble for yourself and others. Just like in modern times the people in the play who lie, end up desolating most of lives around them through stupidity. The play was not only written to be read but also to be performed to provide the excitement, adventure, and thrill to awaken the curiosity in the audience. The play provides the strong actors with the abuse of power this influences the conflict of good and evil.
Arthur Miller has not only succeeded in making various characters appear good and evil but he has made the audience feel the anxiety and emotions that the actors might have been feeling in the play. Overall, the play was well written and expresses the views of the inhabitants of 1690’s Salem, Massachusetts United States. Show preview only The above preview is unformatted text This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Arthur Miller section.