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The theme of evilness in 'The Crucible'

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Introduction

The theme of evilness in 'The Crucible' In any type of society there is evil. Evil lives amongst us all, sometimes in the people you would least suspect. Everybody in 'The Crucible' has sinned in some way, except for Rebecca Nurse. The play almost certainly starts off with an element of evil. The people of Salem are puritans, so if it were known that a group of girls were dancing naked and attempting to conjure up any spells in a forest, it would certainly be thought of as evil. This is exactly what Abigail and the other girls were doing, however Abigail did admit to dancing, but she did not admit to witchcraft. Parris is understandably upset, "your punishment will come in its time." He is worried that if this information gets out, his fragile hold on the congregation and his livelihood could disappear, "my enemies will, and they will ruin me with it." While this was going on, Betty is lying in her bed, motionless. Parris is starting to panic, and the thought of witchcraft passes his mind. So when Abigail is one on one with Betty she acts aggressively, by smashing her around the face, she threatens her, "I'll beat you, Betty!" Betty then awakes and starts to whimper and darts off the bed, frightened of Abigail. ...read more.

Middle

Mary then calls Proctor "You're the Devil's man!" and then she cries out, "Abby, Abby I'll never hurt you more!" Abby has successfully turned Mary against Proctor. Abigail realises the power she has and learns to abuse it in an evil and sinister way. Proctor is partly to blame for Abigail's actions because of the initial lust between them. But it is her decision to perpetrate the idea of witchcraft in Salem. The situation is taken out of her hands and put into Danforth and Hathorne's judgement. There is little doubt however that she was responsible for some of the deaths. Danforth is seen throughout the play as guilty and heartless. Even when he hears that Abigail has stolen from Parris he dismisses it, "Mr Parris, you are a brainless man!" He should represent safety, truth and justice. He knowingly sends innocent people to death. His actions are unforgivable. There is a sense that both he and Hathorne are both monsters. They are ruthless in determination to hunt down witchcraft. They will stop at nothing to get a so-called 'confession.' The reader knows that these confessions effectively mean nothing. The accused that wrote the confessions are just trying to save their lives instead of being hanged and killed. However it seemed that Danforth and Hathorne did not have the common sense to realise that. ...read more.

Conclusion

When Hale is in the court he has a ferocious determination to hunt out witchcraft, "Until an hour before the devil fell, God thought him beautiful in Heaven." Hale says this to show that Rebecca Nurse could very well have consulted with the devil, and that made people change their minds her. Other than Rebecca Nurse, everybody has sinned in some way. John Proctor with his adultery, Corey with his intolerance with people. He was hot-headed, cantankerous and extremely argumentative. His biggest sin was his pride and stubbornness. The way Elizabeth treats John after she finds out that he has committed adultery, she found it very hard to forgive. She blamed herself for her lack of affection and having such a, "cold house." She did not feel worthy of John, she says, "forgive me John." If he had not been hanged, it would have worked out. Witchcraft is of course an invisible crime, so how can someone accuse someone of committing it? The people of Salem did not realise that the accuser's were not always, "holy." Sometimes the accuser might have had a completely different motive, like revenge. Abigail certainly accused Elizabeth of witchcraft because of revenge and vengeance. Also the accuser might have been greedy, as in Putnam. He just wanted to kill his neighbours off, to claim their land. This is a prime example of how a tragedy like this can happen, all through evil. ...read more.

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