The Crucible: the Analysis of the Play

The play The Crucible was written by the American playwright Arthur Miller in 1953. It is meant to express the dangers of unfounded accusations and rampant, widespread hysteria. The Crucible rhetorical analysis. In the play The Crucible, Salem, a small Puritan town, essentially falls apart. It begins with a series of lies that build into corruption and death. Everything that happened in Salem is because of one girl, Abigail Williams. Abigail lied to hide what she did in the forest, protect her reputation as a sweet girl, and get rid of Elizabeth to secure her relationship with John Proctor.

In the eyes of Abigail Williams, nothing could go wrong with her plan. Abigail managed to manipulate Rev. Parris and the other girls so as to shift the blame off of herself. For instance, “We did dance, uncle, and when you leaped out of the bush so suddenly, Betty was frightened and then she fainted. And there’s the whole of it”. Abigail’s lies continue and become more prevalent. In doing so she gets Elizabeth Proctor thrown in jail for no reason and forces all the other girls to either go along with the lies or be singled out and end up like Elizabeth. Abigail’s selfish attributes are directly connected to the downfall of Salem.

Ben Franklin said, “It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it.” Abigail would do anything to uphold her reputation as an innocent girl in the town. She seems to get offended when Paris questions her and asks about why she was fired from the Proctor household. Even though she acts surprised that he would even bring that up, she knows that she lied to him about what happened and that she is hiding many other secrets. Abigail is the opposite of a good Puritan girl but nobody in the town can see her true self.

It is obvious from the beginning of the book that Abigail is unhappy with her current situation and desires John Proctor. Specifically, she reacts in a hostile way and without thinking. Instead of respecting the fact that John Proctor is in a marriage and has children with Elizabeth, Abigail refuses to give up even after he warns her to stay away and that any further relationship between them would never happen. “Abigail: Oh, I marvel how a such strong man may let such a sickly wife be- Proctor: You’ll speak nothin’ of Elizabeth!”. Due to Abigail’s devotion to John Proctor, she leads Salem down a path of lies corrupting the justice system and deceiving anyone who challenges her.

John Proctor is not communicative with Elizabeth Proctor all throughout the play until near the end. He begins very early by simply telling Elizabeth that the soup she made was well seasoned. In a little lie he told, the reader is introduced to a deceptive and shady personality. Abigail knew how John Proctor was and used that to hide her biggest secret which as her and John Proctor sleeping together. She knew that John Proctor wouldn’t speak of what they did for no reason because it would ruin him. This resulted in John Proctor not being able to take action when he realizes what Abigail was doing to the town. Once a Abigail’s plan was in full swing, she had Elizabeth thrown in jail. Only then did John Proctor reveal what happened but even after throwing away his dignity he failed to change what Abigail was doing.

Although Abigail is very worried about her reputation in the beginning of the play, she seems to disregard it at the end. She obsessively lies to cover any track of hers connecting her to anything bad such as what happened in the forest. Then she pretends to be involved in witchcraft which contradicts her actions previously to try and get any accusations of witchery completely off of her. At the end of the play her actions show that she has given her reputation the cold shoulder and leaves it behind her entirely. She flees Salem with money she stole from Rev. Parris and is said to have become a prostitute. All of her manipulation and effort to deceive the people of Salem, in the end, left the town in ruin while she quit on everything.

Works Cited

  • Miller, Arthur. The Crucible. Penguin Books, 2016.
08 December 2022
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