• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

There is no character in Acts 1-2 of 'The Crucible' who is Beyond Criticism. Discuss.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

"There is no character in Acts 1-2 of The Crucible who is Beyond Criticism." Discuss. Throughout Acts 1 and 2 Miller presents the reader with an array of characters that each appear to have their own individual flaws and vices. However, it is important to first consider what it means to be "beyond criticism" before it can be argued whether this exists at all in the play. In the context of Salem, it appears that perhaps every character is corrupted in the sense that an ulterior motive exists within them, and it is conceivably this 'corruption' that seals the harsh fate of many of the characters in the play. Miller often tells us a great deal about a character the very moment we are introduced to them, not least with Abigail Williams. Declaring that she has "an endless capacity for dissembling", Miller straight away alerts us to the fact that this girl is a gifted liar who will no doubt find herself at the forefront of controversy later in the play. Moreover, as we look deeper into the text it becomes increasingly obvious that Abigail is an extremely deceptive young woman, with three very distinct sides to her character that she alternates according to the situation she finds herself in. At first we see act her feeble, and "innocently" as she is confronted by Parris on the events of the previous night, constantly referring to the Reverend as "Sir" and accepting the title of "child", which she is called several times. ...read more.

Middle

In actual fact he could not turn his visit into more of an interrogation. "I have no.../suspicion", he proclaims, and yet on pages 53-55 he is quite clearly hunting for evidence of witchcraft, asking abrupt and frankly insulting questions such as "How comes it only two (children) are baptized?" and "Do you know your commandments?" This is further confirmation that Hale has much to be criticised for. Reverend Parris is also left wide open to criticism in Act 1 where we witness an outburst of the greed and selfishness that consumes him. With his daughter "lying on the bed, inert" and the suggestion from the town doctor that witchcraft may be involved, he simply dwells on the fact that he "(has) many enemies" that are "sworn to drive (him) from (his) pulpit", revealing his egotism. Rather than consider what this means for his daughter, Parris proclaims: "Now my ministry's at stake, my ministry and perhaps your cousin's life". This is an extremely powerful piece of language as Miller has constructed a sentence with a deliberate break to represent the clause between the most important thing in Parris's life and all that which comes after it. We see this greed arise again on pages 23 and 24 where Parris proclaims he is paid "little enough without I spend six pound on firewood" and where we are told he was the "first minister ever" to "demand the deed to this house". ...read more.

Conclusion

To give an example, in Act 1 Mrs. Putnam believes that her daughter Ruth is possessed because "she cannot eat", whilst Rebecca lightly suggests "perhaps she is not hungered yet". Moreover, once Mr. Putnam draws to the conclusion that Betty must be possessed, Rebecca simply says "there is a hard sickness here", undermining this belief and professing that Betty's condition is a physical ailment rather than a diabolic spirit possessing her. Overall, Miller perfectly illustrates Rebecca's freedom from criticism in making Hale say "If Rebecca Nurse be tainted, then nothing's left to stop the whole green world from burning." To conclude, within the first two acts we see several characters each with their own unique flaws and critical attributes. The hysteria that evolves in these acts develops from a combination of Abigail's talent for deception, Parris' selfishness, the ignorance of Hale, and the lust lurking within Proctor. Miller has crafted a complex society in which it is very difficult, if not impossible, to survive without having attributes that the reader can consequently criticise and perhaps this is why the reader can locate such flaws so easily. However, it is very difficult for the reader to criticise Rebecca Nurse as she is both rational and socially responsible in her efforts to calm other characters' fears, perhaps, at this stage, making her beyond criticism. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Arthur Miller section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Arthur Miller essays

  1. "The Crucible yields a number of scenes which are prime examples of Arthur Millers ...

    audience can already feel a sense of doom shows his dramatic talent.The audience feels like shouting at Hale the 'obvious', that the girls are frauds and Tituba's confession not valid, the audience can already sense that this is the beginnig of a gruesome affair that was started by Hale's naivety.

  2. Free essay

    "Linda: I don't say he's a great man... He's not the finest character that ...

    One argument against Miller making his main character common, is that common men may be considered dull calling into question whether they have sufficient impact on an audience to be tragic. As Muller says "the fastidious critics of the quarter lies generally dismissed it as a 'very dull business' without

  1. How does Arthur Miller present The character of Reverend Hale in 'The Crucible'.

    Also, I think the playwright has brought Reverend Hale into the Act carrying books, to make the audience note that he is well prepared for the job. He also says: "We shall need hard study if it comes to tracking down the old boy."

  2. Character analysis of Reverend Parris in the play The Crucible

    not because of all the people who he's helped to senselessly murder, but because Abigail stole his money and he's now broke. PARRIS: No--no. There be no unnatural cause here. Tell him I have sent for Reverend Hale of Beverly, and Mr.

  1. The Crucible Revision Notes

    There is some tension between her and the Putnams. Ruth Putnam blames Rebecca for the death of her baby. None of her babies have survived whilst Rebecca has many children. Jealousy and revenge are the motives. Personality Highly respected in the community, very truthful, kind and humble; good natured.

  2. 'Whilst we are appalled by Abigail Williams, we are fascinated by her as well'. ...

    While her use of violence towards Betty may be viewed by the audience as unnecessary and cruel, it is also a presentation of her ability to digress from the common view of women in Salem; women are presented as somewhat weak and obedient towards their male counterparts, existing for the

  1. What do we learn of Salem and three of its inhabitants in the opening ...

    perfectly justified?, and how in reality the accusations and mass hysteria on the basis of religion were only made for personal gain. The opening of the text presents the character of Reverend Samuel Parris, the text immediately makes clear that he is a man who had ?cut a villainous path?, with ?very little good to be said for him?.

  2. How Fear Encourages Selfishness in "The Crucible".

    Warrant wasn?t purposefully stabbed with a needle, or the ?yellow bird? (3.992) she claimed to see in the church wasn?t a way conceal her lies. As the novel shifts gears and Abigail sees that her initial motive of gaining John Proctor?s ?love? would no longer be a reality, there is

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work