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Human Motivation in the Crucible. Abigail, Thomas Putnam, and Reverend Parris are among those who take advantage of the witch trials and each of them has underlying reasons for their action in the play.

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Introduction

Human Motivation in the Crucible Arthur Miller's The Crucible is set during the Salem witch trials, a time of hysteria and religious uncertainty for the Salem community. Hundreds of people are unjustly accused of witchcraft, trialed, and hanged. The accusers tend to have a purpose behind their fa´┐Żade of lies, a hidden motive that does not concern witchcraft. The Crucible is a study in human motivation because characters exploit the situation in Salem for their own personal gain. Abigail, Thomas Putnam, and Reverend Parris are among those who take advantage of the witch trials and each of them has underlying reasons for their action in the play. Abigail Williams, a beautiful but manipulative seventeen year old, is the antagonist of the play and the main driving force behind the hysteria in Salem. She commits adultery with John Proctor, a married man, and longs to be in his life. Abigail's main motive in the play is her love for John and jealousy of his wife, but she is also motivated by fear. ...read more.

Middle

His greed for land explains why he is behind most of the accusations. Even though he has inherited a large amount of land from his grandfather, Putnam is always seeking ways to increase his personal wealth. It is no surprise that those he accuses are always landowners or farmers, and this is because their land would be seized if they were to hang. Putnam knows that he is the only person in Salem wealthy enough to purchase these lands, and goes even as far as to make his daughter witness to the fabricated crimes of his neighbors. Giles Corey sees through Putnam and at court, yells out from the crowd, "Thomas Putnam is reaching out for land!" (78) When George Jacobs lands in jail, he formally accuses Thomas Putnam and claims, "If Jacobs hangs for a witch he forfeit up his property - that's law! And there is none but Putnam with the coin to buy so great a piece. ...read more.

Conclusion

He also supports the trials to rid the blame of witchcraft from Abigail, as well as to bring down his opponents in order to maintain his public standing. Later on in the play he becomes concerned with the hanging of innocent people, but only because it causes distress for his own safety. He cries out to Danforth, "You cannot hang this sort. There is danger for me!" (119) Parris has enough authority to prevent the witch trials but chooses to protect his self-image instead. Selfish motivations and desires have a negative impact on Salem. Abigail Williams, Thomas Putnam, and Parris each has motivations that contribute to the outbreak of hysteria. Abigail lusts for a married man, Putnam seeks more land, and Parris strives to maintain his reputation. Their drive to achieve these goals greatly explains their involvement in the witch trials and how it leads to a cataclysmic turn of events. Human motivation in The Crucible, as demonstrated above, is a destructive force that accelerates the downfall of Salem. ?? ?? ?? ?? Lewis 1 ...read more.

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