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'The Crucible' by Arthur Miller is all about a lie which spirals out of control until it becomes the cause of the death of many innocent people.

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Introduction

TONI McCANN 'Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practise to deceive.' 'The Crucible' by Arthur Miller is all about a lie which spirals out of control until it becomes the cause of the death of many innocent people. The reverend's daughter, Betty Parris, and a group of her friends are discovered dancing in the forest by Samuel Parris himself. There was Betty, Mary Warren, Mercy Lewis, Ruth Putnam, Tituba (Parris' Black slave) and Abigail Williams, (Parris' niece) among the girls and it would have been bad enough for your reputation, to discover his own daughter in the place thought to be the devils 'last preserve', but to find two other people closely associated with him was devastating to Reverend Parris. Dancing is seen as a sin because it is 'vain enjoyment' and to dance in the forest doubles the offence. At first we think dancing is the only evil doing which has taken place in the forest but we soon realise they have been up to much more, including the conjuring of spirits which is seen as the biggest sin of all. When questioned about the night by her uncle, Abigail denies everything as she knows the girls will be in a lot of trouble, maybe even accused of witchcraft and possibly hanged if they are found out. We soon recognize that breaking rules is not something new to Abigail; it's something she does a lot of. She had an affair with John Proctor while working at his home as a servant to the Proctors' but once Elizabeth Proctor started to become suspicious she threw Abigail out and hired Mary Warren in her place. However, Abigail is still in love with John even though John insists that it is over. He knows he has done wrong and he wants to make up for his sins and is trying to make things right with his wife. ...read more.

Middle

Not only is she constantly telling lies of her own but she is trying to persuade others to lie too, to keep her out of trouble. Reverend Parris asked Reverend Hale of Beverly to come and help him with the recent situation in Salem. He questions Abigail about the night she was found with her friends in the forest. Parris tells Hale he saw a kettle with something in it, but Abigail insists that it was only soup. 'I think I ought to say that I - I saw a kettle in the grass where they were dancing.' 'That were only soup.' Abigail is trying her hardest to make the incident sound as innocent as she can. She is trying to cover up the fact that what was actually in the pot was some sort of charm she had asked Tituba to brew, to kill Goody Proctor, so she could have her husband, John all to herself. However, she is struggling to convince them as it is not very often you are found dancing around a pot of soup. Later, in the interview, when Hale finds out that it was not soup, he asks Abigail whether she drank the brew. At first she says she never, that Tituba tried to make her drink it but she refused. Then she changes her mind and says that she didn't want to but Tituba made her drink it, just like she'd been making her do other things such as laughing at prayer in church. Abigail knows she often does this and it is wrong, so it won't look so suspicious if they think Tituba has made her do things before the night in the forest. 'She made me do it!' 'She sends her spirit on me in church; she makes me laugh at prayer!' Abigail tries to keep herself out of trouble once again by lying, but when she realises her uncle and Reverend Hale are suspicious of her she resorts to blaming Tituba. ...read more.

Conclusion

Walter Scott's quote, 'Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practise to deceive,' is a complete sum up of 'The Crucible.' When we 'practise to deceive' we lie and 'The Crucible' is full of everybody lying, especially Abigail who starts it all off. Once one lie was told at the beginning to keep Abigail out of trouble, other lies had to be told to get her out of the first lie and so on. All the lying, by all the characters, soared out of control, resulting in a tragic end. 'The Crucible' was written in the 1950's just after World War I. America was worried about communism at this time and McCarthy hunted for communist Americans and threw them in jail. Arthur Miller wrote this play to try to express his opinion about the events at that time, without directly saying it. He tried to tell people his view without getting caught doing it and by relating it to the Salem Witch Hunt of the 1600's was quite clever. However, he was caught and put in jail like one of the innocent in 'The Crucible.' He related certain characters to people he knew of as like in, 'The Crucible,' innocent people were hunted out and punished. When Arthur Miller wrote the story he was trying to tell the story of the Salem Witch Hunt in the 1600's from what little information we have about what actually happened. Several actual people have been merged into one character and a few details have been changed but the play is a reminder to its readers of an 'ugly blemish' on human history. It reminds us that no man is perfect, and that we all make mistakes. However, even with these mistakes, we can cleanse our sins by making what is wrong right. He displays that even deeply religious people make mistakes in their lives. Arthur Miller shows the audience the good and evil within people and brings out the mad their hysterical qualities. ...read more.

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