The Arc of the Play

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Arthur Miller employs many different forms of literary devices, one of the most prominent being the use of dramatic foils between major characters in his play, The Crucible, to emphasize the ironies, conflict, and often, hypocrisy between the two characters in question. The use of dramatic foils also magnifies the distinction between the two characters, notably between Proctor and Parris, Elizabeth and Abigail, Hale and Danforth, Hale and Parris, and Salem and Andover.

John Proctor Versus Reverend Parris: Proctor regards himself as morally self-righteous and sees himself as an honest Christian man, however in all his true honesty and good nature, Proctor is bound by a tragic flaw of having committed adultery with Abigail Williams while in wedlock, which has the potential to destroy his health, sanity, and above all, his reputation. He is also initially portrayed as being flawed and an inferior Christian “In the book of record that Mr. Parris keeps, I note that you are rarely in the church on Sabbath Day.” (Act II pg ), however he transcends that condescension by the end, dying an honest, righteous man at peace. Parris on the other hand is initially portrayed as an immaculate example of an elect Christian, however his web of lies and deceit become unwound his and his nieces’ own machinations. his importance toward his reputation also becomes an evident flaw along with the others just mentioned. “Now look you, child, your punishment will come in its time. But if you trafficked with spirits in the forest I must know it now, for surely my enemies will, and they will ruin me with it.” Parris (Act I pg )

Elizabeth Proctor and Abigail Williams: Elizabeth Proctor appears as the standard of a good Christian woman, bound by faith and honesty with rigid morals even in the presence of her husband. Such an example of her faith is seen when Elizabeth lies to the court to try to save her husband, but little does she know that her one and only sinful action leads John...
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