The Use Of Hubris In The Cruci

Essay, Research Paper

The Crucible

Hubris, a tragic flaw, can be defined as excessive pride. In 1692 mass hysteria broke forth in the Massachusetts town of Salem. The society lives under a theocracy in 1692, and because of the heavy religious atmosphere an overdue opportunity for everyone to express his guilt and sins emerges. The play, The Crucible, narrates the time accurately. The Salem Witch trials prosecute any person believed to have interactions with the Devil. Because of the guilt carried in each person s sins and the desire to appear pious, excessive pride, or Hubris emerges in several characters. This pride reveals itself in the newly elected Reverend Parris with his desire for his family and him to be seen as godly. Also it appears in Deputy Governor Danforth with his unwillingness to allow anyone to tamper with his authority, and also in John Proctor who refuses to add blemish to his name

Reverend Paris became consumed by pride throughout the tale. Parris, being the newly elected minister in town, has an obsession with keeping his appearance pure and in a godly manor. Not only did Parris desire for his appearance to be godly, but that of his family also. When word spreads that unnatural happenings among the Parris have been taking place, he becomes quick to cover them up and keep them secret. This shows that pride in Parris keeps him from the truth for the purpose of keeping a good appearance.

Hubris also becomes apparent among Deputy Governor Danforth whom will not allow anyone to jeopardize his authority or get in the way of him appearing to be right. Hang them, hang them high over the town quotes Danforth in Act IV page 134. This statement, particularly the high over the town , shows how Danforth has excessive pride and must appear to have authority over the town. He desires for the hangings to be high over the town so that many people will see whom Danforth had hung, and it will be known that he has authority. Also he attempts to have John Proctor confess on a sheet of paper so that Danforth may hang it in the Church for everyone to see how he made John Proctor confess. This pride pulls him away from the truth about the innocence of Proctor and others, and towards gaining his owns recognition.

John Proctor also lets his pride guide him. In Act IV, John and Danforth argue over John confessing on paper to being with the Devil. John desires not to confess so that his name will be pure. If John confesses he spares his own life and avoids being hung. Because it is my name! Because I cannot have another in my life! Because I lie and sign myself to lies! Because I am not worth the dust on the feet of them that hang! How may I live without my name? I have give you my soul; leave me my name, exclaims Proctor; this proclamation shows that Proctor has so much pride in his name that he will die and be hung to keep his name pure, rather than lie and live, and have his name contain blemish.

The excessive Pride, or Hubris, throughout The Crucible becomes the main motive in several characters. Everyone involved in the Salem witch Trials becomes somehow affected by their own or someone else s pride. Through hubris and the absence of the truth many innocent citizens were condemned to death.


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