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The Absence Of Humanity In The Crucible And Macbeth

2027 words - 8 pages

The urge to be seen as perfect is a desire commonly found among humans. However, even some animals are not immune to such desires. A bird trying to attract the best mate in the forest by creating a perfect nest will fight to the death for a twig that it believes will make its nest excel beyond the rest. The bird will even go so far as to break the incubating eggs in a nest if it contains an item that the bird wants as its own. Similarly in humans, there are characters that strive for perfection so much so that they begin to weigh ideology above humanity. In the plays The Crucible, by Arthur Miller, and Macbeth, by Shakespeare, there are characters that fall prey to their own desire to create a perfect life or a perfect society; thus, it leads them to abandon their morals—something that makes a person human—and commit horrible acts. When individuals begin to weigh ideology above humanity, they become bitter and accusing, they begin to lose their grip on reality and they create chaos and war.
When a character strips themselves of his or her humanity for the sake of ideology, all that is left is the ability to accuse. In the plays Macbeth and The Crucible, there are characters so obsessed with accusing others that it eventually pushes those individuals to believe that there are people out to “corrupt” their perfect life or society. In The Crucible, Mary Warren, the slave of John Proctor, discusses the conviction of Sarah Good by the council to John and Elizabeth, stating that the she never “knew no commandments” (Miller, 58). In Macbeth, the tortured hero agonizes over the witches’ words, whispering to himself that:
They hail’d him father to a line of kings/ Upon my head they placed a fruitless crown/ And put a barren sceptre in my gripe/ No son of mine succeeding. If’t be so/ For Banquo’s issue I fil’d my mind (3.1.60-65).
During the scene in the Crucible, Mary Warren explains to John and Elizabeth Proctor how Sarah Good was convicted, despite the lack of physical evidence against her. Instead, the council men assure the rest of the individuals overseeing court that because Sarah Good does not know her commandments, she is a witch. At the first hint of religious difference or independence, the council men no longer see themselves as humans, but Saints, or even Gods, sent to rid their “perfect society” of such “sin.” This decision made by the council shows the reader’s first-hand how paranoid and accusing the council of Salem become as they begin to weigh their ideals more than their compassion. In Macbeth, the main character of the play, Macbeth, is distraught over the witches’ words. In this scene, Macbeth accuses Banquo of stealing his happiness and leaving him with “…a barren sceptre” (3.1.60-65). In response to his own accusations, Macbeth decides to kill Banquo. In both of these scenes, there are characters that seem to be capable of doing nothing but accusing others for the “corruption” within their idea of a perfect town...

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