Mccarthyism and the Crucible

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In Arthur Miller’s The Crucible the audience is supplied with an array of varying characters. Arthur Miller effectively categorizes the characters of the play into two juxtaposing categories; the accusers, and the accused. The accusers are led by the antagonist of the play, Abigail Williams, whereas the accused are led by the protagonist of the play, John Proctor. The audience sympathizes with John Proctor not only because he has been falsely accused, but also because he is a representation of the human condition. In contrast, Miller causes the audience to despise the accusers in order to exemplify the injustice of McCarthyism.

John Proctor is the primary character in the play that evokes pathos in the audience. Proctor made the infamous mistake of committing adultery and lechery with Abigail. “Abby, I may think of you softly from time to time. But I will cut off my hand before I’ll ever reach for you again” (pg.18). Miller conceals the details and the extent of John and Abigail’s previous relationship, although the audience can clearly see that John is regretful, and Abigail is desperately in love. “And now you bid me tear the light out of my eyes? I will not, I cannot! You loved me, John Proctor, and whatever sin it is, you love me yet!” (pg.19). Although lechery and adultery are both sins, Miller presented John in a noble way which allows the audience to sympathize with him. Instead of highlighting the details of Abigail and John’s relationship, Miller chose to highlight John’s struggle for atonement. “(angered- at himself as well): You’ll speak nothin’ of Elizabeth!” (pg.19). John Proctor is essentially the only character that the audience can identify with. While the audience sympathizes with all of the accused, John is the only character that the audience can empathize with. Miller chose to place John as the foremost of the accused because he was an accurate depiction of the human predicament.

John was the ideal character for Miller to illustrate the...
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