The Crucible Lauren Seaman 9/25/00 Period E The Truth Comes Out In the play, The Crucible, written by Arthur Miller, Americans face pressure to conform in the town of Salem, Massachusetts in 1692. The witch trials bring about the hidden truths about the citizens of Salem, and in fact are not really about witchcraft. Everyone has their enemies, and the witch trials provide an outlet for the expression of the hostilities people have. In Salem, if a citizen suspects and accuses someone of something, that suspicious person is quickly thought of as guilty. Not much evidence is needed to prove someone guilty to the judges Danforth and Hathorne.
Preserving the appearance of justice rather than performing actual justice is what the judges are interested in. Not only the judges but every high authority seems more interested in maintaining their reputation rather than doing the right thing. The witch trials are not really about witchcraft but instead about long-held grudges and self-confidence problems that Salemites have and the Salemites just use the trials as an opportunity to avenge their enemies from past grudges and gain and maintain power. When Elizabeth Proctor finds out that her husband, John, is having an affair with their mischievous servant, Abigail, Elizabeth fires her. Out of jealousy, Abigail hates the well respected because she wishes she could be in Elizabeths place since she is still in love with John.
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Abigails first attempt of killing Elizabeth fails, which was convincing Tituba to concoct a charm. When the witch trials go on, Abigail sees another chance of getting Elizabeth out of the picture. In court one day, Abigail notices Mary Warren making a doll for Elizabeth. Abigail conceives the idea of sticking a needle in the doll, then sticking a needle in herself, and telling everyone she sees Elizabeth Proctor with the devil, so Elizabeth will be framed as performing witchcraft on Abigail. Her plan is successful because Cheever finds the doll with the needle in it at Elizabeths house, and Elizabeth gets arrested.
Elizabeth easily figures out what happened, but has no way of proving herself. When Elizabeth and John are arguing about Abigails motives to framing Elizabeth, Elizabeth says Spoke or silent, a promise is surely made. And she may dote on it now- I am sure she does- and thinks to kill me, then to take my place It is her dearest hope, John, I know it. There be a thousand names; why does she call mine?Shed dare not call out such a farmers wife but there be a monstrous profit in it. She thinks to take my place, John (Act II, 61). Elizabeth sees exactly what Abigails intention is, and tries to explain it to her husband, who knows shes right, but cannot admit it.
It seems then that the witch trials are the perfect opening for people to get revenge on their enemies. Thomas Putnam has many grudges against Francis Nurse: one grudge about their acrid land dispute between Nurse and one of Putnams relatives, and the other grudge is about how Francis Nurse prevented Putnams brother-in-law from being elected minister of Salem. As a result of these disputes, Putnam has a deep hatred for Francis Nurse. Ann Putnams babies have all died within a day of their birth, except for their only surviving child, Ruth. They do not know why, but they want an answer.
Ann Putnam goes as far as asking Tituba to conjure the dead childrens spirits so they could tell Tituba who murdered them. However, Tituba does not get an answer, but Mrs. Putnam is still dissatisfied. She needs someone to blame. Acknowledging the fact that her husband hates Francis Nurse, she eventually blames Nurses wife, Rebecca.
When Nurse and Giles come running into the Proctor household, they tell them how Cheever took both of their wives to jail. Francis Nurse says, My wife is the very brick and mortar of the church, Mr. Hale. Then Hale asks what Rebecca is charged with, and Nurse replies, For murder, shes charged. For the marvelous and supernatural murder of Goody Putnams babies. What am I to do, Mr.
Hale? (Act II, 71). The Putnams finally get their vengeance on the Nurses since Rebecca Nurse is accused and hanged, and gain power since this dispute being is the first won by Putnam. The judges, Danforth and Hathorne, are only worried about their own name getting ruined rather than focusing on who is actually innocent and who is guilty. They care more about maintaining the appearance of justice rather than justifying the situation. They are on a power trip to let everyone know who has the power in the town.
Danforth is a very stubborn man who only does what he wants and thinks, and does not consider things that should be considered. When Proctor is trying to prove to Danforth that Mary did not see any spirits, and that he has a deposition stating what Mary says, Danforth instantly says, No, no, I accept no depositions. He is rapidly calculating this; he turns from her to Proctor. Tell me, Mr. Proctor, have you given out this story in the village? (Act III, 88). Danforth believes that Mary Warren is guilty and he will not change his mind no matter what evidence of her innocence they have. It is obvious that he is worried that he might be proven wrong when he quickly asks Proctor if he told his story to the village.
Another time when Danforth acts defensive is when he is arguing with Hale, Mr. Hale, you surely do not doubt my justiceI have been thirty-two year at the bar, sir, and I should be confounded were I called upon to defend these people (Act III, 90). Danforth and Hathorne do not perform justice in their courtroom, but instead give orders to have people hanged when they do not have clear evidence that the people are guilty. They know that they have made many poor decisions, but to go back and change them would mean admitting that they were wrong, and that can never happen. Those poor decisions have resulted in death, and they could not possibly admit that they, in a way, killed innocent people. In Salem, there is only one way of life, and if someone does something privately or the slightest bit different from the normal way of life, then they are immediately branded a suspicious person, and are then vulnerable to being accused and hanged. One has to be the accuser or accused in their society. The witch trials create a craze where anyone can get power, especially those who did not have power before, and use the power to their advantage. Also, with so many different cases brought about during the trials, anyone can be the accused victim.
Some already with power, like the judges, will do anything to maintain their authority and even make unjust decisions to do so. People feed off of other peoples anger, and it drives them to seek revenge in ways they would not normally do. English Essays.