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Analysis Of The Crucible By Arthur Miller

1604 words - 7 pages

In the play The Crucible, Arthur Miller shows how a repressed Puritan town in 1692 can be turned upside down when the threat of witchcraft is taken seriously. The Puritans believe the forest is where the Devil lurks, and they are fearful of the Devil. So when Parris, the town of Salem’s Reverend, catches a group of girls dancing and magic spirits in the forest, the town suspects that some sort of witchcraft is being practiced. The girls deny this accusation initially and Abigail, Reverend Parris’s niece, blames Tituba, a slave from Barbados. Abigail blames Tituba to keep herself out of trouble. Consequently, Tituba confesses because she is afraid she will be beaten to death. Tituba’s confession is the start of the mass hysteria that begins in Salem, Massachusetts. For this reason Reverend Hale, an expert on witches, is called from Beverly to investigate these suspicions. Reverend Hale is an “eager-eyed intellectual” (Miller 38), who is full of pride to have finally been called to Salem to ascertain witchcraft and purify the town of evil forces. Another character, a respected judge named Danforth, arrives from Boston and contributes to the mass hysteria seen in Salem when he relies heavily on spectral evidence presented in court to rid the town of evil. Both Reverend Hale and Danforth are allies against witchcraft trying to condemn the accused. However, as the play progresses, the two men become opponentswhen Hale realizes the flaw in his initial judgment, and Danforth rejects valuable information to protect the authority of the court and his reputation. Reverend Hale’s investigations outside the court room lead him to doubt that spectral testimony in court is true, while Danforth’s refusal to consider outside information leads him to depend on spectral evidence and condemn people unjustly.
Body 1 - Reverend Hale enters Salem with an air of superciliousness, wishing to demonstrate his supremacy in investigating the outburst of Devil. He has a firm belief in the reality of evil and the existence of the Devil and considers it his duty to enlighten the Salem residents through his knowledge and experience. He assures that, “We cannot look to superstition in this. The Devil is precise”(Miller 38). Hale’s authority and status are strengthened by his academic knowledge, and he is unwavering in his belief that Salem is inhabited by the Devil. His passion for his duty,along with his determination to purge Salem of witchcraft, is notably expressed by Miller, “this is a beloved errand for him; on being called here to ascertain witchcraft he felt the pride of the specialist whose unique knowledge has at last been publicly called for” (Miller 38). He displays his academic background, expertise in witchcraft, and intellectual credibility by suggesting, “Have no fear now--we shall find him out if he has come among us, and I mean to crush him utterly if he has shown his face”(Miller 45)! So, Hale visits the houses of the accused in an attempt...

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