Deception in Salem
The Crucible is a 1953 play written by Arthur Miller, which portrays the story of the Salem Witch Trials, and the townspeople it affected. The play is an allegory of McCarthyism, which Miller unjustifiably experienced, due to the fact that he was a playwright. The prosecutions of the Salem Witch Trials led to the deaths of several innocent townspeople. As the accused individuals stood trial, it was the testimonies of villagers which essentially determined their fate. Whether lying to save a life, or take someone else’s, dishonest villagers created a chaos which shook Salem Village to its core. The Crucible depicts the extreme behaviors that occur when the difference between truthfulness and treachery is life or death. In The Crucible the most notable characters who conduct in deception are Abigail Williams, John Proctor, and Mary Warren. The Salem Witch Trials could have never reached such infamy, if it were not for the lies and deceit of the people of Salem.
Abigail “Abby” Williams goes to the greatest lengths to deceive the townspeople of Salem, in order for her own selfish gain. When Abby is questioned about dancing in the woods with the other girls, she blames Tituba by stating, “She made me do it! She made Betty do it!” (187). Abigail is willing to sacrifice the life of Tituba, Reverend Parris’ slave from the Barbados, in order to spare herself from punishment. While Tituba did not force any of the girls to commit witchcraft, she confesses to the crime, as she knows Abby’s claims are held to a higher standard than those of a slave like herself. In an attempt to defend her lies, Abigail accuses Mary Warren of witchcraft by saying “…Oh, please, Mary! Don’t come down.” (224). After Mary Warren confesses to the court that the accusations she and the rest of the girls made were untrue; Abigail leads the other girls in an attack against Mary. Abigail goes as far to accuse Mary of...
Cited: Miller, Arthur. The Crucible. 1953. The Language of Literature: American Literature.
Applebee, Arthur N., et al. Evanston: McDougall Littell, 2002. 164-240.
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