The Crucible: Inner Struggles Essay, Research Paper
Arthur Miller?s play, The Crucible, is a great portrayal of humans and their inner struggles. This play takes place in the 1690?s in a small Puritan community based on a rigid social system. An outbreak of rumors claiming witchcraft contaminated this small village. This caused conflict among the people of name and ultimately resulted in absolute chaos. This play clearly illustrates the self-battles of three characters. Reverend Hale?s battle is initiated by his personal commitment to God. He is a deeply religious man who was unrelenting in his quest for the devil. Originally, Hale believed that there was witchcraft in the town and wanted to drive it out. However as the play develops, Hale witnesses sincere and respectable townspeople being sentenced and hung. He learns that what is being done is definitely wrong and here begins his inner turmoil. With scrutiny, he looks at himself and tries to figure out which way to go. Should he continue with what he is doing and listen to Danforth or should he listen to his conscience? He does try a feeble attempt to talk to Danforth and explain how their actions are unjust, but again, his inner struggle pulls him back to a more moderate stand. Hale then decides to persuade the wrongly accused to confess witchcraft. At least this will save them from death by hanging. He preaches perjury to the people, even though this is also against their religion. Hale?s principles were ridden with guilt and sadness because of his struggle with himself. John Proctor a farmer and village commoner is similarly faced with an inner turmoil. He has committed adultery with Abigail while his wife was sick. He was fully aware of his immoral actions and the enormity of the problem. Once he though this problem has vanished, it came back to slap him in the face. Abigail decided to call John?s wife, Goody, a witch, this in turn spurs conflict and anger among the townspeople. Proctor then gets involved in these witch trials and claims to be with the devil. His inner struggle is whether or not to tell the truth or fake a confession to save his own life. He is confused as to which way to go and his main obstacle is his pride. John later states” My honesty is broke, Elizabeth; I am no good man.”(136) He would rather confess than die as a martyr for honesty. However, as John confesses, he can not allow Danforth to make it an official document. As Danforth asks him why John answers with a cry ?How may I live without my name? Have given you my soul; leave me my name(143). John feels strongly about having a good name and not dying with a bad one. Proctor weighs both sides of his internal conflict and realizes that he cannot live with another lie. He therefore, sentences himself to be hung and at least passes his ?good? name and some pride to his children. Furthermore, Mary Warren was a young girl evidently stricken with terror and inner conflict. Initially in this play, her character is perceived as a quiet and shy person. She was one who would never speak of her opinions. Proctor finds her where she was not supposed to be and wants her home, Mary immediately replies with ?I?m just going home.? (21) As the plot thickens, Mary is shown as na?ve and easily swayed my Abigail. She ends up getting caught up in all the commotion and pandemonium of the town. She goes along with all the girls of the town and lays blame on innocent people of witchery. She amazes herself with the power she can hold when she points a finger towards the accused. Inside she knows that her actions are wrong and cruel but she is too weak to be her own person. Mary decides to speak out against Abigail and the others for their false accusations and said that she ” tried to kill me numerous times”(57). Yet as she does this heroic act, Abigail pretends that Mary is also a witch using the poppets against her. Mary is now faced with yet another grueling internal conflict: to do what she knows is right and probably die for it, or to return to her old ways. Mary succumbs to Abigail?s “hypnosis ” and accuses John Proctor of forcing her to lie. Clearly the battle which Mary faced from the very beginning was enormous.