The Crucible by Arthur Miller

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Arthur Miller's play The Crucible is a social commentary on witch hunts in early America, as well as an Aristotelian tragedy. In Aristotle's essay Poetics, Aristotle explains that a character flaw (imperfection or weakness in one's personality or values) or an error in judgment can lead to tragedy. The word for this is hamartia. Aristotle also goes on to state that the tragic hero will find enlightenment through his or her lamentable situation. In Miller's play there are two characters in particular, John and Elizabeth Proctor, who are tragic figures that find psychological insight, stunning facts of self-sacrifice and heroism through their personal tragedies. Elizabeth Proctor, who is the wife of John Proctor, and the enemy of Abigail Williams, appears to be a loving, caring and sturdy housewife on the outside. Truthfully, Elizabeth is a cold, insecure, and vengeful woman with trust issues in her marriage. "Spare me! You forget nothin' and forgive nothin'. Learn charity, women." (52) At first we assume that Elizabeth is only cold in her marriage because of John’s infidelity with Abigail, but we learn that her bitterness comes from a lack of self-worth and pride in herself. "I have sins of my own to count. It needs a cold wife to prompt lechery" (131). This insecure and cold spirit led to Johns affair with the house worker who was undoubtedly more confident and had a sexual appetite and appeal that intrigued John. The problem was not just the adultery that was committed, but the harlot herself. Abigail was a sneaky liar, who was able to imprison Elizabeth as soon as she saw the spirit of revenge brewing inside of Elizabeth. "She is blackening my name in the village! She is telling lies about me!" John Proctor was a strong minded, sharp-tongued and honest man. Unfortunately, John was also blase. He wanted excitement, love, and sex which prompted him to become an adulterer. After committing adultery with Abigail, John saw himself in a new light and so did...
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