Moral Courage From The Crucible Essay Research

Moral Courage From The Crucible Essay, Research Paper

Moral Courage

In 1952, The Crucible, by Arthur Miller was written. This

play is viewed by many as a condemnation of McCarthyism, now

seen as a modern-day witch hunt, or the prosecution of people

accused without proper cause, who are forced to conform to

society to avoid public denunciation. The Crucible is based on one

of the strangest and most dreadful events in American history, the

Salem witch trials of 1692. During this time many innocent people

were put to death. Throughout this play, there are shown the

many different effects this witch hunt had on individuals, as well

as families. Some of these people truly have moral courage and will

not conform to this society?s belief of witchery. Rebecca Nurse,

Giles Corey, Reverend Hale, and John Proctor all show their

personal moral courage through their words and actions.

Throughout the play Rebecca Nurse?s morals are quite clear

through her behavior, both silent and verbal. In Act I there is a

fore-shadowing of Rebecca?s suspicion of the girls accusations.

When she first enters the room of ?sick? Betty, she stands over the

child gently, and then sits off to the side. When asked what she

thinks of Betty?s condition she replies ?I think she?ll wake when she

tires of it?. Thus implying she dose not believe the sickness to be

real, but mere acting. Rebecca is charged in Act II, not only for

witchcraft, but ?for the marvelous and supernatural murder of

Goody Putnam?s babies.? After being charged with such an

outrageous account Rebecca does not speak of any sort of witchery.

She ?fears nothing? because ?another judgment awaits us all.? She

will not bend her morals to please the court, even if it will save her

neck- literally.

Giles Corey through his moral courage showed that he was

not only looking out for himself, but also for the welfare of others.

Throughout the play Giles fights with John Proctor to help show the

court the girls false accusations. When Giles Corey is accused of

witchery in Act III he will not offer a plea of guilty or not guilty to

the court. Not only is this a sign of ignoring this madness, it is also

because if he does not make a plea then they can not try him and

can not take away his land. He wants to keep his land for this

son-in-law. When Giles is asked to reveal the name of the man who

gave him information to disprove the charges he says ?I cannot

give you his name? because Giles knows if his name should be given

then ?he shall lay in jail for it?. Because of Giles Corey?s moral

courage and for standing up to the court he eventually is

physically crushed to death, but his soul is never broken.

Reverend John Hale of Beverly is introduced into Act I as a

?tight-skinned, eager-eyes intellectual?, being called upon as a

specialist in witchcraft. When Hale arrives in Salem he gives off a

sense of arrogance. Hale is a gentleman of the court and is sent to

learn about the accused persons. After seeing many charades and

talking to some of the townspeople, especially John Proctor and

Giles Corey, he starts to doubt the authenticity of the ?bewitched?

girls accusations. He hits bottom when Mary Warren accuses

John Proctor. At this point he ?denounces these proceedings,?

and quits this court!? He can no longer be part of these immoral


John Proctor?s moral standing is not as much shown until the

play is unfolded a bit. John Proctor is a hard working farmer with

three boys, and a wife, Elizabeth. John is outraged in Act I when

the court officials come to his home and take his wife for trial.

John Proctor is sure he can free his wife by showing the truth

through their maid Mary Warren. But this all turns against him

when Mary accuses John on witchery as well. When John is

thrown into jail many people, including Reverend Hale, beg him

just to confess to witchery. At first John signs the confession, but

refuses to have it nailed to the door of the church for the public to

see, for he ?has three children- how may I teach them to walk like

men in the world.? His name is everything. He has given them his

soul, he feels they have to need for his name. So in the fight for

moral standings he dies, and has ?his goodness now.?

The play, The Crucible, based on the Salem witch trials, truly

shows the many sides of this cruel and extraordinary time in

American history. People were taking secret vengeance on their

own neighbors, and so called friends. Although we often see the bad

side of this amoral event, there were those who stood up to these

immoral doings, and even died for them.


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