The Crucible Essay

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Jason Smith
Mrs. Bartosiewicz
ENG 3U1
2 December 2011

Human Nature vs Personal Gain

Growing, learning and becoming the best we can be are all positive steps that evolve from life experience. It is human nature that wants to succeed and contribute to society in productive ways. In the play The Crucible, written by Arthur Miller, individuals display an ugly side of human nature and are motivated by less than noble goals. Throughout the story, justice is often replaced by the desire for personal gain. Perhaps the three best reasons are greed, selfishness and betrayal. Greed is a motivating factor among many individuals in the play. At many times, John Proctor talks with Hale about Parris’s need to become rich, by gathering valuable golden candlesticks. He says, “He preach nothin’ but golden candlesticks, until he had them… I think, sometimes, the man dreams cathedrals, not clapboard meetin’ houses” (Miller 65). Proctor says this to Parries to illustrate Parris’s materialistic nature and thirst for power, land and material possessions. Like Reverend Parris, Thomas Putnam is also greedy. Thomas uses his daughter to falsely accuse George Jacob of witchcraft. The accusation leads to the arrest and conviction of George Jacob by Judge Danforth. Giles Corey’s explains to Danforth that Mr. Putnam is dishonest and says “If Jacobs hangs for a witch he forfeit up his property- that’s law! ... This man is killing his neighbors for their land” (Miller 96). Thomas Putnam uses these falsifying witchcraft trails to increase his own wealth by accusing people of dealing in witchcraft, getting them convicted and then taking advantage of the situation by buying up their property. Characters like Parris and Putnam are so obsessed with greed that they do not have a conscience. Just as the evils of greed occupy Parris and Putnam, Abigail Williams is motivated by selfishness. She is vengeful, manipulative and a magnificent liar; for example, she goes into the forest at...
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