The Skewed Role of Women in The Crucible
The outlook on gender roles in today’s advanced society is in drastic contrast to the views portrayed in The Crucible, set in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1692. The Crucible, written by Arthur Miller, depicts women as weak creatures, who are expected to submit to men, and whose only access to power is through dishonest means.
None of the females in The Crucible possess extreme power, but the truthful, pure-hearted, and family oriented women seem to be even less powerful than the others. Elizabeth Proctor and Rebecca Nurse are two of the less powerful women in The Crucible. Both of their lives are led by an instinct to serve their families and communities (Alter 1). Elizabeth Proctor is convicted in participating in witchcraft even when it seems obvious to her loved ones and most others around her that she had never involved herself with demonic forces (Miller 63). Elizabeth never confesses to witchcraft, but fortunately, to her advantage, she is found to be pregnant. The Puritan leaders would never sentence an innocent baby to death; therefore, Elizabeth’s life is spared for the remaining months of her pregnancy. Rebecca Nurse was also implicated in participating in witchcraft, regardless of the fact that she presented herself as an upright, God-fearing woman. However, the honest people were more often the ones executed, because they were not willing to confess to a crime they did not commit.
The females in The Crucible who possess power generally derive it from manipulation and deceitfulness. They are led by “an impulse that betrays,” and are in direct contrast to Elizabeth Proctor and Rebecca Nurse. Abigail is the main female possessor of power in The Crucible. Alyssa Colton asserts that “Abigail had very few avenues of power open to her” so she finds her power in deception (Colton 2) . The Puritans in Salem believed God’s will was law. Therefore, by aligning herself, in the eyes of others, with God’s will, Abigail...
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