Set in 1692, The Crucible is a novel depicting the lives and conflicts of various Puritan characters during the Salem witch trials. Mary Warren, in particular, is a young servant girl whose ethics are challenged when she becomes afflicted with terror and intimidation.
The essential conflict Mary Warren encounters is admitting to the court that the trials are simply pretend. Internally, she realizes that the accusations are mortally wrong and cruel. The trial is based on hatred and revenge, resulting in the condemning and execution of innocent villagers. However, Mary feels threatened to speak out against wicked Abigail. "I cannot charge murder on Abigail! She'll kill me for sayin' that! ....I cannot do it, I cannot!" (76). Also, since the conspiracy, Mary, merely a maidservant, has acquired extreme respect and authority. Mary's power is apparent when she argues with her master, John Proctor. "I'll not stand whipping any more!... I'll not be ordered to bed no more, Mr. Proctor! I am eighteen and a woman, however single!" (57).
After arduous consideration, Mary decides to confess to the fallacious witch trials. She becomes motivated to speak up when innocent Elizabeth Proctor is suspected of witchcraft. Mary knows that Abigail accused Elizabeth because of hatred and retaliation. Abigail wants to get rid of Elizabeth in order to get to John Proctor. John Proctor, realizing Abigail's intentions, demands Mary to revolt against the girls. "You're coming to court with me, Mary. You will tell it in the court" (75). Mary acknowledges the corruption, and with outside influence, she is able to follow her truthful instincts. "I cannot lie no more. I am with God, I am with God" (94).
Once Mary confesses to the court, Abigail denies the charges and convicts Mary of witchcraft. Mary is now faced with another grueling internal conflict: to do what she knows is right and die for it, or to return to her old ways. Terribly frightened, Mary panics and...
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