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Discuss how fear undermines the moral integrity of many of the characters involved.

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Introduction

Discuss how fear undermines the moral integrity of many of the characters involved 'The Crucible' is a play based on the 17th century Salem witch hunts. It is also a parable for the events in McCarthy's era in the U.S.A which was a high profile topic at the time it was written. The play is about people who are wrongly accused of helping the devil. 'The Crucible' was written by Arthur Miller and was first performed in 1953, New York. It is set in a puritanical society where the people believe in hard work and little luxury. Their life is based around God, the Bible and the 'Ten commandments'. They're joyless and God-fearing. Pride and integrity are extremely important to them. They're obsessed and fearful of sin, damnation and the devil. Fear is an abstract emotion, it causes people to worry, become nervous and sometimes act in an irrational manner. People can be 'fearful' of many different things. It could be that you or someone you care about is in danger or that you are scared of someone or something. It makes people conscious and aware of what is happening around them or what could happen. ...read more.

Middle

Also, Abigail desperately wants to have John Proctor and will do anything to get him, including accuse his wife. Ironically, it is in fact John Proctor that ends up being a victim of her lies. She lives in fear that she will be exposed for committing adultery with John Proctor. All her lies begin because of her fear that she will be accused of being a witch. She is willing to send people to their deaths just to protect herself. All of the latter are amongst the reasons why Abigail's integrity was undermined by fear. "Why Abigail Williams charge her." "Oh please Mary! Don't come down" as Abigail claims Mary is attacking her in the form of a bird. This shows that Abigail will do anything to save herself, and could be regarded as a coward. Danforth is extremely stubborn man whose moral integrity was undermined once he was faced with fear. He sentenced people to hang for crimes that he suspected they did not commit, just to save his 'good reputation' as a judge. Finding people not guilty of helping the devil would've suggested that he was wrong about people he sentenced earlier. ...read more.

Conclusion

"Do as you will. Do as you will." She is an extremely strong minded woman, which is shown by the fact that she never once loses her temper with Abigail, despite the pain she has inflicted on the Proctors. In conclusion, 'The Crucible' shows how easily people's principles and moral integrity are undermined by fear. Even in a puritanical town where their lives are practically based on their pride, when the "devil enters Salem" people seem to forget that. The character I most sympathise with is Elizabeth Proctor, and to a certain extent, John Proctor. John Proctor is effectively sentenced to death by Abigail, because she wants to be with him! He may have committed adultery, but in no way does he deserve to have his life taken from him for something he obviously did not commit. Some could argue that Elizabeth Proctor is the character who deserves the most sympathy. She has done absolutely nothing wrong, yet her marriage is torn apart by Abigail and Danforth and her husband is executed. I think that 'The Crucible' is a good parable of how fear affects people and shows how ultimately, many people only care about saving themselves, whether it affects other people or not. Grant Macdonald ...read more.

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