English III H Period 6
18 September 2012
The Effect of Confession in The Crucible
In the play, The Crucible, Arthur Miller shows that the several acts of confession lead to an outbreak of serious problems of the society in Salem. Miller’s ultimate message is that confessions can cause unwarranted chaos, as shown from Tituba and Abigail. Tituba’s confession to Hale scares people into believing witchcraft, and Abigail’s confession to being possessed by witchcraft instantly makes her powerful. These two confessions ultimately bring death and suffering; together, they scare people into mindlessly accusing one another for witchcraft.
In the first scene, Salem society is faced with an outbreak of fear as people begin believing the confession of Tituba. Tituba is accused of bewitching the girls’ and making them convulse in violent fits and have unexplainable visions. When confronted about the incident in the woods, Tituba ultimately decides to confess to witchcraft, unknowingly causing widespread hysteria. Reacting out of fear for her life, Tituba said that “I tell him [the devil] I don’t desire to work for him, sir… I do believe somebody else be witchin’ on these children (Miller 3.)” As a result of Tituba’s confessions, fear and anxiety pervaded the Salem community; the first steps in the many horrific events to come.
In the second and third act, the girls’, who have since gained power because of Abigail’s confession to Paris, have begun on a mindless accusation spree. The helpless accused either had one of two choices: confess or hang. Sarah Good, one of the first people to be accused, confessed, and was able to keep her life. Mary Warren describes this predicament: “He sentenced her [Sarah Osbourne], and not her, for Sarah Good confessed (Miller 15.)” Because the accused figure that if they own up to witchcraft, they get to keep their lives, they begin lying and go against the deeply religious root they claimed to have. Miller...