The Crucible, Conflict Brings Out the Worst in People Essay.

Topics: The Crucible, Salem witch trials, McCarthyism Pages: 2 (616 words) Published: September 5, 2012
Conflicts can bring out the worst in people. This is especially true in Arthur Miller's The Crucible. Puritan life in 17th century Massachusetts was governed by strict rules of behavior. Puritanism did not encourage individualism, rather the life of the community was dependent on the devotion of the followers as a whole. This unit behavior was instrumental in the survival of the colony in the brutal environment of 17th century Northeastern United States. "Their religion required them to act honorably towards their fellow men and to help each other." Even though Puritans were expected to live in harmony with each other, disputes arose over land rights, livestock sales and jealousy. As the conflicts festered, along with hidden resentment in conjunction with the hysteria of witchcraft, people began to attribute their losses and misfortune to the use of black magic by their neighbors. Once this started, the ripple effect, or guilt by association was dramatic. There are numerous things that bring out the worst in people. It can come from being jealous of people to religion, and greed. In the case of Salem, conflict did bring out the worst in people. But it is not always the case, conflict is a natural part of any relationship, family or community. The characters, just as Miller intends, alienate the audience because of their self-interest and quickness to allow fear to overwhelm any genuine desire to find out the truth. The audience grieves for the suffering of the truly good characters – Rebecca Nurse, Giles Corey and Elizabeth Proctor. John Proctor, the flawed hero of the play, may have succumbed to the temptations of the flesh with Abigail Williams, but he redeems himself in the end, realizing that saving himself through lying will not resolve the conflict overwhelming his small town of Salem. He goes to his death knowing that there is ‘some shred of goodness in John Proctor’, exposing Abigail Williams and putting a stop to the conflict within Salem. The worst...
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