Betrayal in "The Crucible"

Topics: Salem witch trials, The Crucible, Salem, Massachusetts Pages: 2 (484 words) Published: November 20, 2011
In Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, the community in Salem is portrayed as being motivated by fear, greed, and revenge, as shown by the witch trials. Some people of the community fear for their lives of being condemned a witch, while others take advantage of those fears. Consequentially, people will resort to anything to avert such shame, including betrayal. In The Crucible, three types of betrayals are evident: betrayal of oneself, religion, and community. Betrayal of community is the most evident instance of betrayal in Salem because of the idea of a broken community. Everyone in Salem is accusing one another of witchcraft for fear of being condemned. Therefore, this action is an effort to save one’s own life and avoid suspicion. The Putnams do this very thing: Ms. Putnam accuses Betty for having been seen flying over a neighbor’s barn. Before, the Putnam’s brother in law was up for the candidacy for reverend, but Parris received the job. As a result, the Putnams retained a grudge against Parris and therefore against his daughter. Because of this grudge, Ms. Putnam accuses Betty of witchcraft without even seeing her do so. This demonstrates one of the key motivators of betrayal: jealousy. Not only do the people of Salem betray each other, they betray themselves. This is evident in every instance where one person accuses another of being a witch: that person is betraying oneself by causing the misery of another, as well as damaging their own integrity and morality. When Abigail accuses Elizabeth and others of witchcraft, many become afraid of Abigail, as she is now viewed as the evil one who will send you to hang; through her greed, she compromises both her perception of herself as well as others’ perception of her. Reverend Hale, too, loses respect for himself after he knowingly sends seventy-two innocent people to their deaths. Finally, there is the betrayal of faith. Although the Puritans were a devout, god-fearing people, they let their society be driven by...
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