The Crucible Essay

918 words - 4 pages

Arthur Miller’s dramatic play The Crucible, takes place during 1692 in Salem, Massachusetts. The setting is important because it takes place during the time of the Salem Witch Trials. The play begins with the town’s girls, led by Abigail Williams, gathering in the forest and starting to dance around a fire, chanting. Reverend Parris catches them dancing, sending the girls into a panic and causing two of the girls to go into a coma-like state. The townspeople spread rumors that there are witches lurking throughout the the town that have put the girls under their spells. This causes Reverend Parris to send for Reverend Hale, an expert in witchcraft and the devil's work, who hopes to rid the town of all witchcraft. John Proctor, a local farmer, asks Abigail to stop accusing innocent people and start telling the truth about what happened in the forest. Elizabeth Proctor, John Proctor's wife, excused Abigail from their house because she found out about an affair between Abigail and John. She lies to the court when she is asked about John’s affair to save him from any punishment. In doing so, they were both sent to jail for witchcraft because they knew she had lied. Abigail and the girls continued to lie about people in the town being witches, causing many innocent people to be killed, including John Proctor. Miller shows the dangers of scapegoating when lies that are regarded as the truth, and can kill innocent characters.
The first person to be scapegoated is Tituba, a slave from Barbados working for the Parris household. Reverend Hale questions Abigail about what happened in the woods but she only says that the girls danced and did not summon the devil but that Tituba did. Tituba insists that someone else is bewitching the children because the devil has many witches working for him. Hale begins to question Tituba about what she saw when the devil came to her and if anyone was with him when he appeared.

When the devil comes to you does he ever come with another person? Perhaps another person in the village? Someone you know… You must have no fear to tell us who they are, do you understand? We will protect you. The devil can never overcome a minister. 48

Hale questioning Tituba forces her to quickly decide if she is going to face death or scapegoat someone else so she may be pardoned. Tituba chooses to scapegoat rather than die over some suspicion the other townspeople have. Reverend Hale coaxes her by saying they will protect her because they work for God. She is hesitant to lie about who she “saw” with the devil but eventually picks a...

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