The Sacrificial Lamb in the Crucible

Topics: The Crucible, Salem witch trials, John Proctor Pages: 4 (1448 words) Published: December 3, 2013

The Sacrificial Lamb in the Crucible

Christians, as well as most of the modern world, are familiar with the life and death of Jesus Christ. In short, the world was filled with evil until a perfect being was born and died to save the world of its impending doom in hell. Due to respect and reverence to Christ, using his story as a basis for literature is taboo. Most secular authors prefer to use Christianity to “flavor the text” rather than comprise the text (Troperville). However, Christ’s extremely symbolic life has produced a commonly-used metaphorical symbol known as the sacrificial lamb, or a character who suffers for the good of the people. The sacrificial lamb has been utilized in the works of many authors such as Euripides, Charles Dickinson, and notably Arthur Miller. In his historically-based play the Crucible, Miller chose John Proctor, a previously-mistaken but honorable man, as the person who sacrifices his life to save the rest of Salem. Proctor, refusing to die breaking more than one commandment, does not admit to practicing witchcraft, even if doing so would save his life because he would be living with permanent shame upon his name, evident when he cries in court, “Because it is my name! Because I cannot have another in my life. (Miller 127)” Proctor as the sacrificial lamb in Miller’s play proves the theme correct, that lies may be truth and truth may be lies.

Some attributes of a Christ figure mentioned by Thomas C. Foster are unmarried and preferably celibate; the age of or near thirty-three; wounded or marked on the hands, feet, sides of body, and head; tempted, if possible, into the wilderness by evil; and most importantly, sacrificed by others for the greater-good (Foster 122). The latter quality is the basis for the concept of a sacrificial lamb. In the Bible, the shedding of Christ’s blood during his crucifixion acts as the price for all past, present, and future sins of the world. The modern authors who apply the notion of a...

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The Box. Dir. Richard Kelly. Prod. Richard Kelly, Dan Lin, and Sean McKittrick. Perf. Cameron Diaz and James Marsden. Radar Pictures, 2009. DVD.
"John 10:10 and Matthew 27:46." New International Version Bible. Print.
Foster, Thomas C. "Chapters 7(...Or the Bible) and 14(She 's a Christ Figure, Too)." How to Read Literature like a Professor: A Lively and Entertaining Guide to Reading between the Lines. New York: Quill, 2003. Print.
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Troperville." RSS. Web. 09 Oct. 2013.
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