Character Analysis

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In Arthur Miller’s play, The Crucible, Miller displays Mary Warren as a key character who exhibits moral ambiguity, which other characters lack; however, labeling her as the weakest link in the play. Nevertheless, like any other character, Mary Warren’s personality shifts and turns with her actions clearly indicating fickle features. While in the search of her identity, she develops a duplicitous personality and succumbs under peer pressure and societal expectations. Her actions place her in a predicament that causes her to harm others. Her character development moves parallel with the progress of the play.

Miller structures Mary Warren’s character to be of weak determination, which breaks under peer pressure. She desires to be a part of Salem’s community, which forces her into a situation where she does harm to others. She attempts to stand up against her main pressure, Abigail Williams, in the courtroom during Act III; however, she is once again hammered down and cornered into a position where she follows the bandwagon. Mary Warren’s fragile and timid character help Miller feed the theme of the play, that people will often succumb to societies forces, therefore, they choose the easy way out of any situation rather than facing up to their challenge. This frail behavior is evident in Miller’s introduction in Act I as “she is seventeen, a subservient, naïve, lonely girl” (17). This description is included in the stage directions as contrast to Abigail Williams’ appearance, as she puts on a show of innocence (pretense). Miller contrasted Abigail with Mary to highlight this stark contrast between the two characters. Mary Warren in frail in nature, while Abigail is strong and independent. Miller portrays Mary as such so that she becomes this malleable character who twists and turns under pressure to aid the plot of the play. After all, her lack of testimony is the reason that the trials end in murder. It is worth mentioning that the play differs from the historical accuracy of the characters. Miller raises and lowers the ages to justify vulnerability. Mary Warren’s age was twenty in real life, whereas, in the play is seventeen. Miller changed her age on purpose to lower her status from a woman to a child, to emphasize how a child is dependent and fragile, moreover, easily influenced. The author’s play on age can be marked as a key point in shaping the Mary Warren’s character.

In Act II, Miller suddenly shifts Mary Warren’s character from subservient to dominant and independent with the purpose of mirroring the tension and the action of the play. Mary Warren, introduced as a fragile creature, has now blossomed into a rebel with new powers. Her newfound authority originated from the official court of justice. In the Proctor household, she is enters into the house,...

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