Criticism of the government Essay

Published: 2020-04-22 08:06:56
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In naming people, the girls were probably projecting their own guilt onto others. In this assignment, The Crucible by Arthur Miller I am going to explore the whole situation to discover from where I think the evil came from. In order to do this, I am going to need to analyse some of the characters and state how much I think they contributed to the real evil in Salem. Firstly there is Samuel Parris. He is a very memorable character.

Throughout the play, his character comes across as nasty, cold and cunning but underneath that bold exterior we see that he is an insecure and cowardly man who is easily intimidated by those of higher power in order to achieve what he believes to be a high status. Because of this, and the fact that he is widowed and has never been able to care for children, anyone who has read the play will find Parris unfit to be a father to his only daughter Betty, let alone be a minister of Salem.

Due to his insecurity, Parris is paranoid that whatever he does, or wherever he goes he is being judged, as Arthur Miller states in his introduction, He believed he was being persecuted wherever he went, despite his best efforts to win people and God to his side. As he thinks of himself as a man of importance to the ordinary people of Salem, because he is a minister of Salem, he is over-sensitive and easily offended, even if someone rose to shut the door without first asking his permission. Between the very start of the play and the very end, there is quite a change in Samuel Parris character so our feelings towards him change also.

As a member of an audience first watching the play, I would have no idea of the characteristics of Parris, which are described above, so when Parris first appears I am not biased towards him, and, in fact pity him as he kneels helplessly at the bedside of his daughter, although this feeling does not last long. We can see through Parris actions throughout the play that he is actually quite a foolish man. Although it is obvious that there are many others who can be blamed for the start of the witch-hunts in Salem, Samuel Parris is to blame on many occasions.

For instance, his inability to handle the situation, the dancing in the woods, where he found his daughter, niece and other young girls in the wood, doing what he thought to be conjuring spirits, and Bettys state of unconsciousness. Parris could have handled the situation with humour, realising that such young girls were most probably unable to conjure spirits, and that Betty may have reacted like she did out of fear and hysteria. In this scene we find that Parris is very selfish as he cares more for his reputation than for the well being of his only daughter.

He says that he does not wish to leap to withcraft for the cause of Bettys state when he says, Let him look to medicine and put out all thought of unnatural causes here. There be none. We believe that he is worried about his daughter and does not wish to let himself believe that there might be some evil presence with a hold on Betty, but it soon becomes apparent that he is only worried about his reputation and how his enemies will try and use Bettys condition against him, Now look you child, your punishment will come in its time.

But if you trafficked with spirits in the forest I must know it now, for surely my enemies will, and they will ruin me with it. Parris can also be quite cruel. Instead of bringing up his niece Abigail as a cherished member of his family, he sends her out to work as a maid to the families of the village. Because of this, and all the previous discoveries made about Parris, it is easy for the audience to start to see his character differ from how it was at the very start of the play. We start to resent Parris, and start to see the cunning and selfish character of Parris, as described in Arthur Millers introduction to the play.

One action that proves just how prone to act before thinking Parris is, is when he calls for Reverend Hale of Beverly, an expert in seeking out unnatural presences, although he has already stated that he does not want to look to unnatural causes to find the source of Bettys condition. He then progresses to tell Mr Hale that he caught the girls in the woods conjuring spirits, Why, sir-I discovered her and my niece and ten or twelve of the other girls, dancing in the forest last night. There was absolutely no need for Parris to have told Hale that.

If he had not told him then Hale would have eventually have had to come to some conclusion about what was wrong with Betty and even if he did say it was to do with the unnatural world, Samuel Parris, nor any of the girls could be held responsible. It is doubtful that any of the girls would have confessed it themselves as the other girls threatened those who came close to telling. Later on in the play, Parris realises this early mistake he has made even though by now it is too late to save himself. After Hale eventually manages to get the girls to confess to have conjured spirits, we see a great change in Parris views towards witchcraft.

He no longer wishes to stay away from the possibility of unnatural causes; in fact he does all he can to put all the blame on it when he finds that he can use it to his advantage. Parris seems to find it his responsibility to make matters worse for anyone accused of witchcraft, as with anyone whos testament may stand in the way of him achieving what he wants. As the girls make wild accusations about the poor innocent members of the Salem community, Parris makes senseless claims that make it seem like the girls are telling the truth.

He does the same with anyone who tries to defend someone he has accused. He does this solely for his own benefit. Take for example when, in Act three, Judge Danforth asks John Proctor, Now, what deposition do you have for us, Mr Proctor? to which Proctor replies Its a sort of testament. The people signing it declare their good opinion or Rebecca, and my wife, and Martha Corey. Parris tries to enforce doubt into the minds of those present by questioning the validity of his argument, Their good opinion! though thankfully, he does this to no avail.

Parris character stays pretty much the same throughout the duration of the play. He continues to ruin peoples lives. He is quite wise as he is able to manipulate peoples words to make it sound as if they are confessing to have trafficked with the devil. Nearing the end of the play, when John Proctor has been accused of witchcraft and is to be hanged, Parris character changes somewhat. Prior to the accusation against Proctor, Parris has slandered John Proctor and Giles to judge Danforth so that they will not be believed because he knows that if they are, it will look bad on his part.

Soon after Proctor is accused, the people of Salem, who had always applauded the execution of witches, realised that the innocent were being killed. They chose to take out their anger on Parris and he received death wishes, one being a dagger in his door. This is what brings on the peculiar difference in his character. With his vain attempts, he tries to get Proctor to admit to witchcraft although he knows hes not guilty of it. Parris reason for doing this is clear to the audience, and our beliefs that he is a selfish man are confirmed. There are also many others who can be blamed for the Salem witch-trials.

One other is Abigail Williams. I think that Abigail is the main, and close to being the only cause of the witch hunts in Salem. In comparison to all the other characters that I will describe, she is relatively young, yet she seems to be the wisest in the art of corruption and deceit. As with every character in the play, as a member of the audience I know nothing about Abigails character other done what she shows through how she portrays herself on stage. Because of this, when we first meet Abigails character, we have no previously existing feelings towards her.

We first see Abigail when she has just entered the bedroom of her cousin Betty, who lies inert on her bed after the shock of being caught dancing in the woods. Her character seems to be gentle and caring. We soon learn that she is not so innocent because of two things she does, or has done. The first is the news of the cruel deed that she is supposed to have committed against Elizabeth Proctor, as Parris says Abigail, is there any other cause than you have told me, for your being discharged from Goody Proctors service¦

she comes so rarely to church this year for she will not sit so close to something soiled. What signified that remark? By the way that she responds to this, it is simple to see that she is very aware of how she feels about people, and cares nothing about the respect she should show them, through what she says, She hates me, uncle, she must, for I would not be her slave. Its a bitter woman, a lying, cold, snivelling, woman, and I will not work for such a woman! The second is the change in attitude she has towards Betty. She claims that she will never do anything to harm Betty, I would never hurt Betty.

I love her dearly. But as soon as Parris has left the room, we see that she is conniving and all that she said whilst Parris was in the room was an act. Immediately we grow to resent Abigail as we have seen her for just a short while, yet she has already been deceitful to someone that she should have great respect for. Abigail, in fact, has no real care for Betty. Her only care is that Betty does not land her in trouble. Once Parris has left the room, Abigail becomes more aggressive in her attempts to get Betty out of her unconscious state, Betty?

Now stop this! Betty! Sit up now! Abigail is a person who easily intimidates her peers. I personally think that the other girls allow her to be so dominant over them as they think that she has no fear of anyone because of what happened to her parents, ¦ I saw Indians smash my dear parents heads on the pillow next to mine, and I have seen some reddish work done at night, and I can make you wish you had never seen the sun go down! There is much that can be said about Abigail, and her contribution to the evil in Salem.

As Mary Warren tells her early on in the play, all Abigail has to do, to save her own, and many others lives, is admit to having had danced in the woods. If she had been straight with Parris and told him everything that went on in the woods instead of blaming it on Tituba then she, along with the other girls who participated, would have only been whipped for their dancing. When Abigail and Proctor are first seen together in Bettys room, we see once more the lack of Abigails innocence as we find out about the pairs brief encounter, Give me a soft word, John. A soft word.

The manner in which Abigail talks to Proctor is not of that of a child, so any beliefs that we assumed about the innocence of her character are dashed. When Reverend Hale first arrives and begins to question Abigail, she is frightened of the thought of being caught, and then when Hale simply asks if she was forced into it by Tituba, she finds a useful way of shifting the blame away from her, and onto someone that she herself knows is entirely innocent. Because of this our feelings towards Abigail change dramatically. Not only has her character lost its innocence, but it has also gained a streak of deceit, cruelty, and cowardice.

Out of pure fear for her life, Tituba confesses to having had conjured spirits, but when Abigail joins her in confessing, it is done purely to alleviate her from the guilt of letting Tituba take all the blame. The fact that the other girls soon join in after Abigail either symbolises the same thing it did with Abigail or just shows how much power Abigail expresses other them. Because of the fact that Tituba is supposed to be a cherished friend of all the girls, how easily the girls can blame her comes as a shock, and just shows how far from kind the girls are.

Unknowingly the adults actually fuel the start of the witch-hunts as they feed the girls with names of people that can be held liable of committing the crime. However, Abigail is fully aware of what the adults are doing and uses it to her advantage. The other girls follow Abigail, but only out of the hysteria. This event helps to inspire Abigail. Throughout the rest of the play, Abigail uses this technique to claim that she saw people with the devil. She is believed by the court officials because, as judge Danforth says, ¦

witchcraft is ipso facto, on its face and by its nature, an invisible crime, is it not? Therefore, who may possibly be witness to it? The witch and the victim. As I have already stated, Abigail is clever and it does not take her long to realise that she can blame people that she wishes to take revenge on, whatever the reason may be. For example, Abigail accuses Elizabeth Proctor because she wants her out of the way so that John Proctor will return to her. Abigail seems heartless as she jeers when she sees people that she knows are innocent being hanged.

For this reason, and many others that I have described, including her infatuation with John Proctor, I blame Abigail for the Salem witch-trials. She contributed more than most of the others. Although it is not his fault, John Hale can be blamed for the conviction of people accused of witchcraft. However, John Hale did not contribute much to the evil. Through all of his actions, John Hale acts honestly and is genuinely convinced that the people are possessed. Hale is a minister who specialises in ascertaining witchcraft.

He is convinced that he can tell if a person is possessed, and does not mean to cause any harm when he uses his gift to convince people to confess to trafficking. The accused know that confession is the only way of staying alive, but, at this moment, Hale is oblivious to it. Fortunately, Hale realises what is going on, after he is confronted by Proctor when he speaks of how many have confessed to witchcraft, ¦ why not, if they must die for denyin it? There are them that will swear to anything before theyll hang: have you never thought of that?

Hale is truly remorseful and from that point on, does everything in his power to resolve the situation. But, with Hales case, although he does nothing to promote it, it shows how much image overpowers common sense. Hale brings with him weird books and he is thought of as a great healer, whereas Giles Coreys wife is hanged for reading books that could have been just like Hales. Compared to most of the other characters, the Putnams played a relatively small part in their contribution. In these times, it was thought that if a child died young it was the mothers failure as a woman.

Ann has had seven of her eight children die at a young age and is ashamed of what the townspeople must think of her. Because of this we pity her. When Goody Osburn is blamed, Ann is relieved and is quick to find that she can now use Goody Osburn as the reason her children died, as she states, just after Goody Osburn is charged, I knew it! Goody Osburn were midwife to me three times. I begged you, Thomas, did I not? I begged him not call Osburn because I feared her. My babies always shrivelled in her hands! Unlike Ann, Thomas Putnam does not act out of grief, but out of greed.

For this reason, we dont pity Thomas, and, in fact, feel resentment towards him, as he is heartless. He feels absolutely no guilt or remorse in falsely testifying in court about someone that he wants something from. For instance, Thomas Putnam convinces his daughter Ruth to cry witchery on George Jacobs so that he will be arrested, as it is obvious that such a man will not admit to working with unnatural spirits. This was because the law on witchcraft was, if someone was executed after being accused of witchery, but does not admit to it, then their land becomes state property, which means that anyone can buy it.

Giles Corey realises that Putnam is acting out of greed and heads straight to court, in an attempt to overthrow the court, as Danforth questions Putnam I have here an accusation by Mr Corey against you. He states that you coldly prompted your daughter to cry witchery upon George Jacobs that is now in jail. John Proctor can also be blamed because from the start, he could have brought the situation to a halt if he had not been such a coward. From the start, Elizabeth tries to tell John Proctor of the dangers of Abigail but he does not seem to grasp just how dangerous the situation might become, until it is too late.

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