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

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.

Extracts from this document...


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.


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.


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.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE 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 GCSE Arthur Miller essays

  1. Character study of Abigail from the Crucible

    My reasons for taking this view were because she contributed to the deaths of many innocent individuals. I could not fathom why the need for love had led her to be deceitful and a killer. Her uncle Rev. Parris was responsible for her upbringing so I was shocked at her self-importance and ill-mannered ways.

  2. To what extent was Abigail Williams responsible for the Salem witch trials? In ...

    It seems too extreme a thing to do. It doesn't seem possible unless the person is suicidal or has in fact been attacked by a spirit, which is what Abigail said. That she had been attacked by Elizabeth Proctor. In fact Abigail made sure that all throughout the witch trials no one came in her way and if

  1. Analyse Reverend Parris and his motivations in supporting the witch trials.

    Reverend Parris was also very paranoid about his position in the town and about conspiracies to 'drive him from his pulpit'. Another piece of evidence from the play that portrays his paranoia is that he 'felt insulted if someone rose to shut the door without first asking his permission'.

  2. The Crucible - Act 2 from Reverend Hale’s entry to his exit.

    Proctor's sense of guilt begins to eat away at him. He knows that he can bring down Abigail and end her reign of terror, but he fears for his good name if his hidden sin of adultery is revealed. The pressing knowledge of his own guilt makes him feel judged,

  1. Intolerance of Authority Versus Individual Freedom and Integrity "The Crucible" by Arther Miller ...

    These are all very hard decisions and consequences to face. Unfortunately Marry cannot fallow through with the truth. While Marry struggles with her troubles many others face their own. Reverend Hale "...is nearing forty, a tight-skinned, eager-eyed intellectual", and has already been involved with the mysteries of witchcraft.

  2. How does Miller dramatise political and moral concern through Reverend Hale, Reverend Parris, Goody ...

    Reverend Hale and Parris share the same status in the public. Parris is clearly power hungry and somehow wants to have a life as a Reverend/ Landowner we learn more about his selfish desires later on in the play. Reverend Parris shows certain control of his household when he orders Tituba "Out of Here!"

  1. Summary Act one begins with Reverend Parris praying over her daughter, Betty Parris

    and exclaims to everyone that she is a whore confessing that he had an affair with Abigail. Elizabeth is brought in to be questioned about whether this is true. Elizabeth tells the court that John Proctor never had an affair with Abigail in order to save his name, however, this destroys Proctor's testimony.

  2. How does Miller present Abigail in 'The Crucible'?- Examine how he portrays her role ...

    "I will come to you in the black of some terrible night and I will bring a pointy reckoning that will shudder you". This quote shows Abigail's aggressive side and maybe suggests that she is the more dominant female amongst all the girls.

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