The Crucible

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Who evokes the most sympathy in the play?

Arthur Miller’s famous 1952 court room drama ‘The Crucible’, based on the 1692 Salem Tragedy, explores the hysteria, strong theocracy and the importance of reputation in the town Salem. Many characters in ‘The Crucible’ generate empathy, but many do not. Sympathy does form for Abigail Williams the most, despite the fact she is seen as the play’s “evil villain”. Other characters however, also evoke condolence and concern like the honourable hero of the play, John Proctor and Giles Corey.

The poor Giles Corey unintentionally condemned his wife Martha to be hanged for witchcraft, by accidently asking about behaviour she practiced he found odd. Not only would being separated by your loved one be emotional and difficult, being the reason for it would be even more devastating. Thomas Putnam was rumoured to want to take Corey’s land. Corey heard from an unknown source that Putnam was attempting to get his wife Ruth to get people convicted for their own personal gain. Corey said this in court, but then knew that if he told the court who told him, they would get in trouble too but, if Corey refused, he would also be condemned. Feeling guilty for the damage he had already done, the admirable Giles Corey let himself by killed by heavy rocks, rather than put someone else’s life in danger. A side motif that may have provoked this is the fact that if Corey were to say nothing, his children would be able to inherit the land, leaving it untouchable to Thomas Putnam. This shows how far the hysteria was going, as it was the cause of Martha Corey and later on of Giles.

John Proctor is seen as the typical hero of the play, holding on fatal flaw: the affair with Abigail Williams. Proctor however felt great guilt about the act, and did admit to his wife Elizabeth what happened. Together they decided to work through it together, and do their best to forget about the situation. John did display true commitment to Elizabeth after he...
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