The Crucible Society Affects Decisions

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It is appalling how people die for no cause. This happens in the play The Crucible by Arthur Miller in which The Salem witch trials were depicted. In Salem, 1692, many people with good reputations are sentenced to death because of supernatural "evidence." The only way to escape death was to admit that they were witches. The intolerance, fear, and reputation of the society affect the choices characters made. This shows how society can be blamed for the decisions people make. Salem society is full of intolerance. Because of the theocratic nature of the society, moral laws and state laws are one and the same: sin and the status of an individual’s soul are matters of public concern. Procter is a farmer that lives outside of town. During Sundays he does not go to church and he plows his fields, which is considered a sin. This is something that a “Christian” does not do, so society considers Proctor impure because he does not come to church. The society is therefore intolerant of Proctor. Additionally, the witch trials are held in order to make purify society. People believe that anyone who practices witchcraft believes in the devil. The logic is that if they kill the witches (who supposedly worshiped the devil), then all people that believed in God would remain. This causes “the witches” to blame other people for witchcraft to preserve their own lives. This is just another decision inflicted by society. In addition, The court is intolerant as a whole. As Danforth says in Act III, “a person is either with this court or he must be counted against it” (Miller 94). This illustrates how Salem was either black or white; there was no grey area. The witch trials are the ultimate expression of intolerance; the trials brand all social deviants with the taint of devil-worship and thus necessitate their excommunication from the community. As a resent, society’s actions are influenced on the court.

The people in Salem were not only intolerant, but the town’s hysteria also...
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