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The Crucible


The Crucible written by Arthur Miller is a play that takes place 
in the sixteen nineties during the famous but tragic witch trials. The 
entire community is in pandemonium yet certain characters are also 
fighting internal conflicts of their own. Miller uses three characters 
who manifest this internal battle ever so clearly. Such as Mary Warren 
who whole personality turns upside down, John Proctor who contemplates 
between the importance of his family and his own name and Reverend 
Hale who battles with himself wether to carry out his job requirements 
or do what he knows is right. 

 Mary Warren is a girl who is forced with this inner turmoil 
throughout this play. At the outset of the play she is perceived to be
a very shy girl who will never speak her mind as shown when Proctor 
sends her home and she responds with " I'm just going home" (21). As 
the play continues and as she is influenced by Abigail, Mary begins to 
break this self induced mold and does what she wants. Mary Warren, 
along with many other girls gets caught up in the hype of getting all 
the attention and exercising power via initiating and adamantly 
continuing these "witch trials". Finally John Proctor, the 
rationalist, shows that when people like Rebecca Nurse and Elizabeth 
Proctor who are the saintliest of people are accused of being witches, 
something must be wrong. Mary Warren has a difficult decision to make. 
She has realized that her whole way of life has been based on 
injustice. However, how can she extricate herself from Abigail and her 
friends, not to mention her new feelings of confidence. Mary
decides to speak out against Abigail and the others for their false 
accusations and said that she " tried to kill me numerous times"(57). 
Yet as she does this heroic act of overcoming her old reality, Abigail 
pretends that Mary is also a witch using the poppets against her(73). 
Mary is now faced with yet another grueling internal conflict: to do 
what she knows is right and probably die for it, or to return to her 
old ways. Mary succumbs to Abigails "hypnosis " and accuses John 
Proctor of forcing her to lie. Clearly the battle which Mary faced 
from the very beginning was enormous. 

 John Proctor a farmer and village commoner similarly is faced 
with an inner turmoil. He has committed adultery and had absolutely no 
intentions of joining in the witch trials unless hi pregnant wife were 
to also get involved. After his wife got involved and eventually was 
set free due to the fact that she was pregnant feels that he can't 
accept this. Proctor is a good and noble man and because of this he 
believes at first he can't be hanged and die a martyr when he has this 
sin blooming over him every waking moment . John later says to 
Elizabeth that " My honesty is broke, Elizabeth; I am no good man. 
Nothing's spoiled by giving them this lie that were not rotten long 
before"(136) and rather confess then die for something he flat out 
didn't do. However, as John confesses, he can not allow Danforth to 
make it officially documented. As Danforth asks him why John answers 
with a cry " because it is my name. Because I cannot have another in 
my life . . . How may I live without my name? Have given you my soul; 
leave me my name(143). John feels strongly about having a good name 
and not dying with a bad one. Proctor weighs both sides of his 
internal conflict and realizes that he must not make another mistake. 
He therefore, prescribes himself to death, not for his own sake, but 
rather for the sake of the others. As John dies Liz weeps saying " He 
have his goodness now. God forbid I take it away"(145). 

 Another internal conflict is evident in Reverend Hale who 
initiates these problems. At first Reverend Hale is sure about his 
belief that there are witches and feels that he is carrying out the 
desires of G-D himself. Yet as the play moves on and Hale sees all
these honest and good people being sentenced and executed he too sees 
an inner conflict. He contemplates whether to do what he is sent to 
do, listen to Danforth, or does he listen to his own conscience and 
denounce these proceedings as unjust and wrong. Hale decides to help 
out all the people wrongly accused by encouraging them to confess and 
save themselves from these false proceedings. Hale attempting to 
repent his own sins by tying to make people confess states" I come to 
do the devils work. I come to counsel Christians they should belie 
themselves . . . can you not see the blood on mt head(131). Hale
overcomes his turmoil by following the truth he knew in his heart of 
hearts. Yet he is counseling people to " prevail upon your husband and 
confess " and says " God damns a liar less than he that throws his 
life away for pride " and convinces people to lie which is against his 
religion and considered a moral sin. But he decides that earthly life 
is a greater gift than eternal life. 

 Everybody throughout their lives are faced with inner conflicts. 
One must make a decision based on what they think is right and true. 
These three characters probably just faced the most important decision 
of their lives. Whether right or wrong their went with what they 
thought was the right decision within their heart of hearts. 


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