by Arthur Miller
The Crucible, by Arthur Miller, is a story that contains
many struggles. These struggles are the result of the
strict Puritan society in which the story takes place.
There are two main struggles in the book. The first never
actually takes place in the story, but is described many
times throughout the first act and is the basis for the
trials. It is Abigail's and all the other girls' need to be
free and act like teenagers. The second is the result of
the corruption of the trials. It is John Proctor's fight to
convince the townspeople that the accused women are not
witches (especially his wife), and that it is Abigail who
should be killed instead.
In Puritan society, the role of the child is to be quiet,
and stay out of the way. When Abigail is being considered a
witch in the first moments of the story, Rev. Paris is very
worried about how this will affect his image, and not of
the fate of Abigail. It is this society where Abigail feels
the need to break loose and to act the way a teenager
should: freely. This is the reason why she goes dancing in
the forest. She is expressing her need to act her age and
to break out of the restrictions of Puritan law. Her
struggle is to do what she wants in a society that believes
in ordering her around.
It becomes obvious soon after the trials started that many
people were going to be falsely accused by their neighbors
as a method of revenge, and as an outlet for their
maliciousness. When Abigail uses this case to attack
Rebecca Nurse, one of the best Puritans in the Salem, John
Proctor begins his efforts to stop the injustice. This
increases when Elizabeth Proctor is tried and sentenced to
death. This is John Proctor's struggle. He must fight to
save his wife, his community and eventually himself. In
addition, he also has to convince the leaders of Salem that
they are mistaken in believing in Abigail.
Although Abigail and Proctor are mortal enemies, their
struggles can be seen as almost identical. They both need
to change the way the hierarchy of Salem is doing things
and both of them would just like to live normal lives.
When Abigail realizes she cannot have this, she goes "
crazy" by accusing everybody). This is shown when John
Proctor breaks some of the harsher of the Puritan rules,
and that he dislikes all of the speeches about damnation
given by Rev. Paris. Unfortunately, the struggle of Abigail
goes awry and results in many people dying, while the
valiant efforts of John Proctor are unable to save Salem
from one of the greatest tragedies in American history.
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