We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. By continuing we’ll assume you’re on board with our cookie policy

The Crucible – Functional Society Cannot Exist Without a Balance in Power Essay Sample

essay
The whole doc is available only for registered users OPEN DOC
  • Pages:
  • Word count: 783
  • Category: crucible

A limited time offer!

Get a custom sample essay written according to your requirements urgent 3h delivery guaranteed

Order Now

The Crucible – Functional Society Cannot Exist Without a Balance in Power Essay Sample

‘The Crucible’, written in the 1950s by playwright Arthur Miller, is a dramatisation of the Salem witch trials of 1962. Miller wrote the play as an allegory of McCarthyism in American during the 1950s. The play explores the notion that a functional society cannot exist without a balance in power. Miller’s positioning of Abigail, Reverend Parris and Reverend Hale, invite the reader to see their actions as an abuse of power, particularly to serve their own self-interest.

Abigail is a previously marginalised character who, as a woman, occupies the lowest rung of male-dominated Salem. She uses her newfound power to deflect attention from her own sins and scheme her way into John Proctor’s arms. In Act 1, Abigail “confesses” to consorting with the Devil, which, according to the theology of Salem, means that she is redeemed and free from guilt. Then, as the next step in absolving herself of sin, she dramatically accuses others of being witches – ‘I saw Sarah Good with the devil…I saw Goody Osburn with the devil…I saw Bridget Bishop with the devil’ (pg49).

These accusations shifted the burden of shame from her shoulders to those she named. Abigail’s accusations enable Parris, Hale and Putnam to perceive her as valuable, truthful character sent to Salem by God to help ‘cleanse the village’ (pg48). However, it is evident that Abigail uses Salem’s theocracy to achieve power through accusation and abuse this power to protect her reputation and evade the consequences of her wrong-doing. Furthermore, as Abigail’s power augements, she uses it to frame Elizabeth Proctor of witchery as she believes this will allow her to ‘dance with me (Proctor) on my wife’s grave!’ (pg98). Abigail accuses Elizabeth’s ‘familiar spirit’ (pg 70) of pushing a needle in to her stomach. The Salem community is living in hysteria and paranoia and Abigail’s power enables her accusation to automatically lead to the arrest of Elizabeth. The reader is invited to accept that Abigail is abusing her power to serve her self-interest – deflecting the consequences of her mistakes and once again being with John Proctor.

Parris abuses his power as Reverend to protect his reputation and ministry. In Act 1, when he catches the girls dancing the forest, he fears the trouble the scandal will cause him. He tells Abigail ‘there is a faction that is sworn to drive me from my pulpit (pg19). He tells Abigail once his enemies know his girls ‘trafficked with spirits…they will ruin me’ (pg19). Therefore, once Abigail turns the blame of Tituba, accusing Tituba of sending ‘her spirit on me in church; making me laugh in pray’, Parris promptly furthers the accusation saying ‘she have often laughed in prayer!’ (pg46). The reader is invited to accept that Parris’ support of Abigail’s accusation is not for her welfare, but his reputation. In Act 3, when Proctor brings Mary Warren to confess the accusations were lies, Parris feels the power to have the ability to consistently interrupt the hearing. He desperately tries to undermine Warren’s accusation saying ‘this is a trick to blind the court’ (pg95) and accusing Proctor of ‘blackening my name’ (pg94). Parris’ desperation is highlighted when he perjures himself, telling Danforth he ‘never found any of the girls naked’ (pg94). It is clear to the reader Parris uses his power as Minister to protest against the truth in order to protect his reputation and remain Minister.

Reverend Hale achieves power through his knowledge of witchery and he uses the accusations as an opportunity to better his reputation. On being called to Salem, it is evident he felt proud to be the specialist whose unique knowledge was at last publicly called for. The reader is invited to see that his calling to Salem acted as a comforting validation he was needed. Hale enters Salem in a flurry of activity, carrying large books ‘weighted with authority’ (pg40) and projecting an air of great knowledge. In the early going, he is the force behind the witch trials, probing for confessions and encouraging people to testify. Hale uses his expertise on witches to tempt Tituba to confess to witchery, saying ‘have you enlisted these children for the devil?… Are you gathering souls for the Devil?… When did you compact with the Devil?’ (pg 47). The reader feels Hale’s creation of an intense and excitable atmosphere where he holds the power. Hale’s knowledge of witchery generates his power and he abuses this so he feels like a respected and important authority figure.

‘The Crucible’ play embodies the concept a functional society cannot exist without a balance in power. Characters Abigail, Reverend Parris and Reverend Hale abuse the power they possess to serve their self-interest.

We can write a custom essay

According to Your Specific Requirements

Order an essay
Get Access To The Full Essay
icon
300+
Materials Daily
icon
100,000+ Subjects
2000+ Topics
icon
Free Plagiarism
Checker
icon
All Materials
are Cataloged Well

Sorry, but copying text is forbidden on this website. If you need this or any other sample, we can send it to you via email.

By clicking "SEND", you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy. We'll occasionally send you account related and promo emails.
Sorry, but only registered users have full access

How about getting this access
immediately?

Become a member

Your Answer Is Very Helpful For Us
Thank You A Lot!

logo

Emma Taylor

online

Hi there!
Would you like to get such a paper?
How about getting a customized one?

Can't find What you were Looking for?

Get access to our huge, continuously updated knowledge base

The next update will be in:
14 : 59 : 59
Become a Member