The Gender Injustice of Arthur Miller
An Analysis of The Crucible
Arthur Miller’s 1953 play The Crucible takes place in Salem, Massachusetts, and is based on the historical event that took place there known as the Salem witch trials. The play centers around John Proctor, a farmer hiding a past affair with a girl several years his junior; Abigail Williams, a seventeen-year-old girl who is both John Proctor’s mistake and the catalyst for the tragic events that unfold in Salem, taking the lives of many women and men falsely accused of being witches; and Elizabeth Proctor, the wife of John Proctor who is the victim of betrayal by her husband and one of the many innocents who are falsely accused and imprisoned. Although each character has their accountabilities, Arthur Miller portrays Abigail Williams and Elizabeth Proctor with multiple faults and shortcomings, while making John Proctor into a Christian-hero, underplaying his flaws and mistakes. While John is the protagonist of the play and therefore expected to be somewhat righteous, he is still just as human as any other character. This can also be said for both Elizabeth and Abigail, whose characters are seriously minimalized to the point of being one-dimensional. Elizabeth is shown as being unforgiving and taciturn, with Miller hardly accounting for her attempts to save John. Abigail is reduced to nothing more than an emotional, accusing, and manipulative antagonist, her past with John Proctor underemphasized and her reasons behind her actions unexplained. In The Crucible, Arthur Miller misleadingly portrays the characters in a highly gender-biased and incorrect way. John Proctor is, in fact, not as heroic as the play suggests, and, although Abigail’s actions are not excused, only explained, by her past, both she and Elizabeth are not as terrible as Miller seems to depict. Although Miller portrays John Proctor as a faultless, Christian hero, he is as human and flawed as any other character in the play....
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