The overall message of Arthur Miller’s play, The Crucible, is that when uncontrolled hysteria is combined with ignorance, the outcome is tragic. While Miller offers his audience some comic dialogue to soften the events it does not mask the horrifying reality of the witch hunt and its aftermath. Rather, the humorous insights serve to reveal the simplicity and innocence of people living rustic lives in a God-fearing community. Several characters, Paris and Hale, Mary Warren and John Proctor, provide the audience with some comic dialogue, and Giles Corey is the most amusing character of them all. The hysteria which abounded in Salem allowed small, inconsequential, even comic, events to form the basis of sinister fabrications. Farmers who were envious of the area of land owned by others, or who craved a remedy for imagined wrongs, took the opportunity to bear false witness. Seemingly comic situations, such as Mary Warren reporting to the Court that when she did not give the beggar woman, Goody Osborn, bread and a cup of cider, she 'mumbled', had tragic outcomes. Martha Corey was arrested because a pig she sold to a farmer had died a short time after he took delivery of it. At the time Martha had said to him, "Walcott if you haven't the wit to feed a pig properly, you'll not live to own many." Although that was four or five years earlier, the farmer told the Court that Martha had bewitched all subsequent pigs and caused them to die also. Giles Corey innocently asks the Reverend Hale why he could not say his prayers when his wife was in the room reading books. Later, after Martha Corey was arrested, he tried to clarify his point: "I never said my wife were a witch, Mr Hale, I only said she were reading books." When Reverend Paris implied that he should be paid more than sixty pounds a year (with six dollars extra for firewood), because he was a" graduate of Harvard College" , Giles quickly replies "Aye, and well instructed in arithmetic."
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