The Contagious Mask of Hypocrisy
In Arthur Miller’s, The Crucible hypocrisy runs through the town of Salem, Massachusetts, as if it were contagious. When the witchcraft situation in Salem gets out of control, several characters like reverend Paris, Mary Warren, and Abigail Williams become engaged in hypocritical actions.
One main character who shows hypocrisy in Salem is Reverend Paris. When the idea of witchcraft is introduced for being the cause of why the group of girls in town are ill and seeing spirits. Reverend Paris denies it all and claims there is a medical solution for the illness of the girls. As a reverend, Paris should have searched for answers to solve the situation, but he started to point his fingers at others so the people of Salem suspect that witchcraft could have been practiced at his house. Since Betty was ill and Abigail Williams lived at his house and they were a part of the group of girls who got caught in the woods (Miller, Act 1). Throughout the whole play Reverend Paris felt as if the whole town was after him and if He would make one small mistake, all the witchcraft situation would be blamed on him. But Reverend Paris made sure to blame everyone else but him even if it meant hanging them.
Another character who got struck with hypocrisy was Mary Warren. Mary Warren was one the girls who were accusing innocent people of being witches, but was the only one who spoke up and told that it was all a fraud. For example when Mary spoke up that Abigail stuck a needle in the poppet she had given Elizabeth when she was making the poppet in the court room (Miller, Act 2). But it took a short time before Abigail Williams began to manipulate Mary in the court house. For instance, Abigail and the other girls in the court house began to pretend that Mary’s spirit was attacking them, Mary then gives into Abigail’s trap accuses John Proctor of witchcraft and a devil whisperer (Miller, Act 4). As Mary gives in her words were, “No, I love God! I go your way no more! I love God. I bless God,” (Miller, Act 4), knowing that she was setting herself up to sin.
The third character who is the queen of hypocrisy would be the one and only Abigail Williams. Abigail tries to save herself and keep her name as clean as possible. To the town, Abigail was the innocent niece of the Reverend, except to the Proctor family who had fired her for having an affair with John Proctor. Yet, when Abigail is being questioned at court if her affair with John Proctor happened, she denied everything (Miller, Act 4). Abigail was blaming innocent people in the town without having some sort of physical evidence of them being witches, just the fact that she saw them with the devil. How Abigail acts in court is so hypocritical. After admitting everything to Proctor, she then goes on and accuses His wife of her being a witch. Basically everything that had happened during the Salem Witchcraft was under a desperate, sixteen-year old girl, Abigail Williams who pretended to be the victim so she could not get in any kinds of trouble.
When the tough situation of witchcraft hit Salem, hypocrisy seemed like it was the only way out. Reverend Paris wanted to keep his job and his name clean no matter what kind of damages he had to put his town through. Mary Warren fell into Abigail William’s scheme just because he wanted to keep her friendship with Abigail but also because she feared Abigail with all the power she had gained. And Abigail wished she could replace John Proctors’ wife by getting rid of Elizabeth Proctor, and also needed her name to be kept as clean so she lied and pointed her finger at everyone who came across her path. Hypocrisy ruled Salem secretly, and it just took 19 deaths, which were controlled by a group of lying, selfish girls, for the truth to be revealed.
Hypocrisy made its way from the Salem Witchcraft to 1947 when McCarthyism had begun. McCarthyism took away so many jobs because of the hypocritical people who accused...
Cited: Miller, Arthur The Crucible. New York: Penguin, 1952. Print
Guilty by Suspicion Dir. Irwin Winkler. Perf Robert De Niro, Annette Bening, George Wednt, Patricia Wttig and Sam Wanamakee. 1990. Warner Brother, 1998. DVD
The Holy Bible, King James Version. New York; American Bible Society: 1999; Bartleby.com,200. www.bartleby.com/108/.
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