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Arthur Miller was one of many people brought in front of a congressional committee during the McCarthy Trials of the 1950 s. The Red hunt for Communists that was taking place in Washington, D. C. brought parallels to the Salem Witch Trials of the late 1600 s. The Salem Witch Trials, which were depicted by Arthur Miller in his play The Crucible, sought the people of Salem, Massachusetts who were affiliated with the Devil.
One of the characters from the play, a young girl named Abigail Williams, provoked the search of witches when she wanted to escape the punishment of dancing in the forest. It was her plan to find a scapegoat to blame for her own acts. Abigail used her credibility, jealousy, and selfishness to change the village of Salem to a place of wrongful accusations and back stabbings. Throughout the entire play, Abigail's credibility helped herself to be believed by the people of the village. The question of Abigail's truthfulness never arose until late in the play. The first time Abigail admitted to having danced for the Devil, she states many names of women whom she said were affiliated with the Devil.
Thomas Putnam earnestly replied, The marshal, Ill call the marshal! (849). Also Reverend Hale said, Let the Marshal bring irons! (849), further proving the townspeople's belief in Abigail's accusations. Later while in court, Abigail says, I done my duty pointing out the Devils people and this is my reward? To be mistrusted, denied, questioned like a -, (872). The court official to whom she was speaking to, Judge Danforth, only replied by assuring Abigail that he trusts her, Child, I do not mistrust you, (872). Abigail's credibility in Salem not only easily persuaded the gullible townspeople, but also allowed her to be believed when naming guilty parties.
Looking further, Abigail's jealousy warped her mind into doing whatever necessary to take John Proctor away from Goody Proctor. Before the setting of the play, Abigail worked as a servant to the Proctors. After time, Goody Proctor started to mistrust Abigail and even her own husband because of rumors of an affair they were having together. Later, Goody proctor fired Abigail, which made her furious because she could not be with John. After realizing she had the power to accuse anyone Abigail accused Goody Proctor. John, who no longer wanted to have anything to do with Abigail, was enraged when the marshal came to get his wife.
In court he exclaimed, She thinks to dance with me on my wifes grave! (873). In trying to accuse her ex-lovers wife, Abigail shows extreme jealous towards Goody Proctor. Lastly, Abigail's selfishness caused her to make many immoral decisions. Throughout the Salem Witch Trials many innocent people died. Many times throughout the play, Abigail had chances to confess her lies. When in court, Mary Warren came forward and admitted the sport of being bewitched.
Judge Danforth asked Abigail if she was lying, Is it possible, child, that the spirits you have seen are illusion only, some deception that may cross your mind when- (872). Abigail only responded by acting insulted. She could have saved many lives at any instance but refused to confess because she only thought of the consequences that she might have had to face. Later, when she is scared of being caught lying, she steals all her uncles money and runs away (879).
Abigail's selfishness is another important character trait that helped to bring to the decadence of an entire community. In closing, Abigail's delineation of selfishness, jealousy, and credibility resulted in the horror of many lost lives during the Salem Witch Trials. The deaths of the accused witches could have been avoided had Abigail told the truth from the beginning. These deaths were paralleled by Arthur Miller to the convictions made by Senator Joseph McCarthy on the account of being affiliated with communism. His inspiration to writing The Crucible came from the similarity between the wrongful accusations of the witch hunt and the Red hunt.
Free research essays on topics related to: salem witch trials, goody proctor, arthur miller, abigail, judge danforth
Research essay sample on Salem Witch Trials Goody Proctor