Lies Of The Crucible Essay, Research Paper
LIES OF THE CRUCIBLE
Lying has always been considered to be one of the worst things man could do. Yet almost anyone who has ever spoken a word in their life has lied at one point or another. The truth is that lying comes naturally. Lying is an easy way out of situations that could get us in trouble. It truly is an act of pure selfishness. In Arthur Miller s play, The Crucible, Miller shows what the consequences of lying are and proves that honesty is the best policy .
The first thing lying does is turn people against whoever maybe lying. Lying does this because once someone is branded a liar, they are also looked at as selfish, among other things. There are several examples of how lying can be an act of selfishness in The Crucible. The first deals with the play s protagonist, Abigail Williams. Abigail lied because she loves John Proctor and wants him for herself. Abigail accuses Elizabeth Proctor, John Proctor s wife, of being a witch. This news comes one night from Mary Warren. Elizabeth is speaking, I am accused? And Mary Warren replies Somewhat mentioned Elizabeth later speaking of Abigail says She wants me dead, John, you know it! (59, 60) Here we see how selfish Abigail can be. Abigail knows that if Elizabeth is accused but will not confess that she will be hanged. Another group of people who lie out of selfishness are the court officials. If the people of Salem were to find out that the girls fooled even the members of the court, their reputations would be ruined. So, they go along with the girls and continue to hang people. The only way to save themselves is to get a confession out of a man that they know to be innocent, John Proctor. The court officials know that if John confesses he will be lying, but thinking of themselves they also know that their reputations will be saved (139-145). And people who lie tend to not worry about the effect that it will have on others.
A second consequence of lying is the hurt that it may bring to the people being lied to. When someone is lying they are fully aware of whom they are hurting in the process, but will continue to lie. Someone is always effected by lies and that effect tends to be a negative one. The best example of this is the girls lying to the town. Because they lied ninety-one people were executed. And the girls knew exactly what they were doing but did not care who got hurt or in this case who was hanged. This group of liars left people for dead and never looked back. When someone begins to lie it is very difficult to pull themselves out of the lie without hurting themselves. Proctor is another example of someone who lies and hurts many while doing so. Abigail told Proctor that the dancing had nothing to do with witchcraft and that none of the girls are actually afflicted. Here Proctor says, The town s mumbling witchcraft. And Abigail replies Oh, posh! We were dancin in the woods last night, and my uncle leaped in on us. She [speaking of Betty] took fright is all. (21-22) With this information John could have ended the whole ordeal early on. But made the mistake of waiting. In the long run he ends up hurting himself by with holding this information. This shows that lying may hurt anyone even the good.
The last consequence of lying is the how it hurts the liar himself. Lying will takes its toll on anyone especially the one who lies. This happens most often when the lie ends up back firing on the liar when either they are caught in a lie or when the lie has gone so far that they can not be saved. The example of this is not actually part of the play, but what happened after the Salem witch trials. After months and months of lying and falsely accusing people of witchcraft Abigail finally realizes that she has gone to far. People of the town have started to look down upon her and avoid her. So, she flees. Abigail stole money from her uncle Parris and runs away. The book states, The legend has it that Abigail turned up later as a prostitute in Boston. (no page # given) Abigail s lies were her downfall. Another example of lies hurting the liar is Elizabeth lying, but for good purposes, to Danforth about John being an adulterer. John had already confessed to the crime and if Elizabeth had told the truth it would have proven Abigail and the other girls to be liars. But, because Elizabeth lied the trials went on and eventually John, her husband, fell victim to it all.
Lies, even little, seemingly insignificant, white lies can be amazingly powerful. There is no one who is completely immune from what lies can do. They hurt everyone. The consequences of lying are obviously innumerable and have no limits to the amount of pain that they may inflict. There is no such thing as a harmless little lie . And because of this the only way to do things is honestly.