, Research Paper
Human nature feels a sense of acceptance when conformed to those in its environment. People need to follow patterns, standards, and a structure of behavior to feel secure. A pattern to conform to is a kind of shelter. (Unknown) Whether a strong faith in religion, failure to decipher the truth, to follow the majority, or a realization of one s conformity, Arthur Miller s The Crucible supports human nature s natural inclination towards conformity through the plot and characters. During the eighteenth century, the Puritans set a standard of strong faith in Christianity. They felt that they should whole-heartedly dedicate their lives to the almighty God. This strong faith was evident in the residents of Salem, Massachusetts. Because of this type of belief, anything done out of the norm was not tolerated; any type of act like this was considered a sin. [They] danced. And Tituba conjured Ruth Putnam s dead sisters. (p. 19) Thus, Abigail Williams and the girls actions were regarded as works of the devil. It was unfortunate that this incident was not forgotten. John Procter remembered and exclaimed to save his wife, Abigail [lead] the girls to the woods and they have danced there naked. (p. 97) Authorities of the village quickly took matters into their own hands, only to worsen the situation. Wrong ideas could be defined as right without concrete evidence. Since an individual cannot make rules for everyone, the majority rules. What appeals to everyone may seem right. Abigail was stabbed [one night]; a needle [was] found in her belly (p. 72) She accused Elizabeth Proctor of practicing witchcraft. Elizabeth Proctor was found in possession of a poppet, given to her by Mary Warren. It had a needle inside it as well. Reverend John Hale said, What I have heard in [Abigail s] favor, I will not fear to testify in court. God help me, I cannot judge her guilty or innocent I know not. Only this consider: the world goes mad, and it profit nothing you should lay the cause to the vengeance of a little girl. (p. 74) The people blindly believed Abigail. Only a few people other than her knew what was going on. Such events resulted in the innocent deaths of nineteen people and two dogs.
Ignorance and fear within the soul of a person leads one to believe what he hears. Therefore, the minds of insecure people cannot decipher what is true. Deputy Governor Danforth followed the hype around the hysteria. This made him believe that the devil s work was actually good. He felt that what he was doing was right. He said, Now hear me, and beguile yourselves no more. I will not receive a single plea for pardon or postponement. Them that will not confess will hang. Twelve are already executed; the names of these seven are given out, and the village expects to see them die this morning. Postponement now speaks a floundering on my part; reprieve or pardon must cast doubt upon the guilt of them that died till now. (p. 119) He unconsciously followed the path one that he could never turn back on. It takes great confidence for an individual to go against the beliefs of the majority. One significant character, John Proctor, realized his conformity before it took over him. When Deputy Governor Danforth informed Proctor that his only way out of death was admitting that he practiced witchcraft, Proctor said, Because it is my name! Because I cannot have another life! Because I lie and sign myself to lies! Because I am not worth the dust on the feet of them that hang! How can I live without my name? I have given you my soul; leave me my name! (p. 133) Rather than doing what the average person would do, he chose to redeem himself by dying an honorable death. He picked death over a life of lies.Arthur Miller s The Crucible teaches many lessons about human nature. There is a natural drive in people to follow those around them. One will want to take great lengths just to fit in . The desire to be a part of the crowd motivates a person to become like those in his society. After much experience, one may realize his similarity to others, therefore, changing his perspectives on human nature.