The Crucible: Characters Essay

1528 Words Sep 22nd, 1999 7 Pages
The Crucible: Characters

Chetan Patel

The Crucible, a play by Arthur Miller that was first produced in 1953, is based on the true story of the Salem Witch Trials of 1692. Miller wrote the play to parallel the situations in the mid-twentieth century of Alger Hiss,
Owen Latimore, Julius and Ethel Rosenburg, and Senator McCarthy, if only suggestively. (Warshow 116) Some characters in the play have specific agendas carried out by their accusations, and the fact that the play is based on historical truth makes it even more intriguing. The characters in this play are simple, common people. The accused are charged and convicted of a crime that is impossible to prove. The following witchcraft hysteria takes place in one of America's
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Many people died because of
Thomas Putnam's land hunger. The Putnams, driven by their need for revenge and their greed, contributed to the huge travesty of justice that was the Salem
Witch Trails. The motive of Abigail Williams is equally easy to decipher. Abigail is the ringleader of the group of girls who testify in court against those accused of witchcraft. She and John Proctor had an affair previously, when she worked as a servant in his home, and she obviously does not want it to be over. She says to him, "I know how you clutched my back behind your house and sweated like a stallion whenever I come near! Or did I dream that? It's she [Elizabeth] that 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!" (Miller 20) Elizabeth,
Proctor's wife, had fired Abigail as their servant because she suspected the affair. Clearly, Abigail despises her. She tells Proctor, "She is blackening my name in the village! She is telling lies about me! She is a cold, sniveling woman, and you bend to her!" (Miller 21) Abigail is obviously furious with
Elizabeth because she feels Elizabeth has cut off her relationship with John and soiled her reputation in the village. Abigail uses the witchcraft mess to get back at Elizabeth. Of course, Elizabeth Proctor is charged with witchcraft. In 1692, the real historical Abigail Williams was about eleven years old.

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