The Crucible Essay

534 words | 2 page(s)

The purpose of this paper is to discuss Arthur Miller’s The Crucible and why the story’s setting was crucial to the plot line. First, let’s get to know the characters. While there are many characters that come in and out of this story, I will focus on the main ones: John Proctor, Abigail Williams, and Reverend Hale. John Proctor is the husband of Elizabeth Proctor, the unlikely villain of the show. Abigail Williams is a woman in love with John Proctor, despite the fact that she is married. They start a love affair. Reverend Hale is the man who is trying to get everything figured out when the witch hunt comes into play.

Abigail Williams, in love with Proctor and therefore in hate with his wife, decides to set up a plot against her. Abigail goes to the black girl servant that lives on the outskirts of town and ask her about voodoo and witch medicine, since she knows that the girl had experience with it when she lived in the Caribbean islands before becoming a slave. They perform a ceremony, and then run into the village, screaming and covered in blood, claiming that they were cursed by a witch. Soon, other “incidents” start occurring around the town. Enter Reverend Hale, who prides himself on witch hunting and being able to cure those who are possessed.

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The reason that the setting for the Crucible is crucial, is because there is history in Salem regarding witch hunts. I’m fairly certain that the witch hunts in Salem, Massachusetts were the largest organized witch hunt of all time. The probability of there being a witch or even worse, a coven of witches in Salem was horrific to the highly Puritan community, as they were hard core Christians and in their eyes, witchcraft was directly from the Devil himself.

While all the possession incidents were going on, there was also the affair between Abigail Williams and John Proctor happening “behind the scenes.” For whatever reason, no one suspected Abigail and her friends to be behind the witch hunts because to their knowledge, Abigail was a good, virgin, Puritan girl with no criminal background whatsoever. The lonely yet fertile landscape of the Massachusetts hills and farms was a perfect backdrop for this story also, because it invited the idea of something horrible that was occurring in such an innocent, beautiful landscape.

This is one of the best things that Arthur Miller did for his play. The dialogue, being in old, Puritan English, made everything more creepy. The highly religious backdrop that the in incidents took place in also made for a very dramatic show.

In conclusion, while I had never really thought about it before this assignment, I realize how important every element is to a story’s success. If you put a witch hunt in a pagan African landscape, it really wouldn’t make sense. On the other hand, the colonist backdrop was perfect because it was so anti-Christian. I will continue to take this into consideration as I develop my skills as a writer and a reader, because it is crucial to both the construction of the plot as well as the credibility.

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