Shocking Essay

1166 words - 5 pages

The Puritan religion dating back to the founding of America is now extinguished as a result of its undeniable flaws. The Puritans pursued their business in a very constrained and orderly way by adhering to their strict theocracy. Theocracy is a form of government that is influenced by religious authority; this is now deemed unconstitutional in America. A community run by Puritans, Salem, Massachusetts, became so far corrupted in 1692 that a heinous witch-hunt resulted. In response to these events, Arthur Miller wrote a play called The Crucible. Shaped by Miller’s experience of being tried before the congressional committee during the hunt for communists in the 1950s, his writing directly paralleled Salem’s witch-hunts to the McCarthy hearings. In his play, Abigail Williams was a seventeen year old girl who single-handedly provoked the search of witches to clear her own name after getting caught “practicing” witchcraft. Most of the people in Salem, along with the court, believed her nonsense because of the implicit issues within a perfectionist society. Abigail’s desperate acts of self-preservation became her avenue of devilish and sinful power. Abigail Williams is presented as an evil force in the play because she defies stringent Puritan commandments: “Thou shalt not commit adultery”, “Thou shalt not bear false witness” and “Thou shalt not kill.”
Abigail’s adulterous scandal with John Proctor is the main factor leading to the Salem witch trials. Although Abigail was a mere child, she represents repressed sexual desires. She is depicted as nothing but a “whore” who uses John and Elizabeth Proctor’s unstable marriage to her convenience. Abigail loved John even though he only had lust for her due to strains in his marriage. This lust became evident when Abigail speaks with John about their relationship, “I know how you clutched my back behind your house and sweated like a stallion whenever I come near! Its she put me out, you cannot pretend it were you. I saw your face when she put me out, and you loved me then and you do now!” Despite their tremendous age difference, Abigail truly wanted John for herself and believed she would have him over his own wife. Even after Elizabeth dismisses Abigail as their servant, Abigail continues to find her way around Elizabeth to pursue Proctor. Abigail disbelieves her eventual rejection by John Proctor and stimulates a bitter animosity towards Elizabeth. To her disbelief that their relationship has ended, Abigail says, "I look for John Proctor that took me from my sleep and put knowledge in my heart!...You loved me John Proctor, and whatever sin it is, you love me yet!" This desperation causes her to resent both Proctor and his wife, leading to revenge when she falsely accuses Elizabeth Proctor of witchcraft. Making an effort to avenge others for her hurt feelings, she tortures Proctor to the point where he confesses his own lustful sins to expose Abigail. In a town where reputation is extremely important,...

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