Avarice in the Crucible
Cambria Anderson Petersen AP English III/Period 3 11 November 2012 Avarice and Vengeance in The Crucible The play The Crucible happens during the Salem Witch Trials of the 1800s. Yet Arthur Miller does not expose the tragedy of the witch trials in the way expected. Miller reveals the underlying causes of the allegations made as those coming from individual greed and the sensation of revenge. Abigail Williams, Mr. and Mrs. Putnam, and Reverend Samuel Parris all have their own agendas as to why they “cry witch” on others in their town.
Miller outlines the history in between Abigail Williams and John Proctor in Act One: Abigail was eliminated from the Proctor house by Elizabeth, Proctor’s spouse, because of an affair happening in between her and Proctor. Since of this, Abigail harbors a hate and jealousy towards Elizabeth. In Act 2, a warrant was sent for Elizabeth’s arrest: The woman, the Williams girl, Abigail Williams, sir. She sat to dinner in Reverend Parris’ house tonight, and without word nor warnin’ she is up to the flooring.
Like a struck monster, [Parris] says, and shrieked a scream that a bull would weep to hear. And [Parris] goes to save her, and, stuck 2 inches in the flesh of her stomach, he draw a needle out. And demandin’ of her how she come to be so stabbed, she […] affirm it were your better half’s familiar spirit pushed it in. (Miller 79) Abigail knew that from the beginning of the witch scare that she might precise vengeance on those who she felt wronged her or took something from her, which would hold true of Elizabeth.
Abigail understood Mary Warren made a doll, and was preparing to give it to Elizabeth; she also saw Mary Warren stick the needle back in. Abigail made the most of the circumstance to offer seemingly undeniable proof of witchcraft on Elizabeth’s part. Through this, Proctor sees that revenge runs these trials, and how easily people turn on one another to get what they desire. Proctor likewise knows that Abigail’s revenge has no limits; she has no embarassment, and constantly thinks that she is right, just like the character of her uncle, Reverend Parris.
At this moment, Proctor needed to manage keeping his past a secret from the public and securing Elizabeth, as Abigail will switch on anyone who “wrongs” her. Mr. Thomas Putnam and Mrs. Ann Putnam have an affecting history of losing their newborn kids, while only having one that endures. Mrs. Putnam finds comfort in blaming their midwife, Sarah Osburn, for the deaths, saying, “I pled [Thomas] not to call Osburn since I feared her. My children always shriveled in her hands! (I. 50). Mrs. Putnam discovers that crying witch on Goody Osburn would resolve the “murder” of her kids, yet does not prefer to consider her own role in her pregnancy, being that Miller states she is fourty-five years old (I. 13). Mrs. Putnam, in a manner, desires somebody to feel the pain of losing seven children, being that she is a self-centered woman– putting her child in the dangers of witchcraft to find the identity of the individual who “killed” her babies.
Implicating somebody of witchcraft, and possibly running their life, was the perfect method to specific her so-called “vengeance”. Although Reverend Parris never implicated anyone of witchcraft, he refuses to protect Proctor of any charges brought up against him– from insulting the court to claims of witchcraft. In Act Three, Parris takes Proctor’s depositions from Corey Giles and Mary Warren personally, warning Judge Danforth that” […] given that [he] come to Salem [Proctor] is blackening [his] name […] (110) and” [Proctor]’s pertained to overthrow this court, Your Honor! (97 ). Aside from attempting to safeguard his reputation, Parris makes such allegations about Proctor in an effort to prove Proctor as an unreliable messenger. Parris wishes to get revenge for what he feels Proctor has actually done to him, simply as Abigail wants revenge on Elizabeth. But, these declared wrong-doings have actually only come from Parris’s mouth; he appears to delight in taking things individual when they originate from Proctor, and the courtroom scene is the ideal location for Parris to return the hate he feels from Proctor.
The Salem Witch Trials proved to be a time of disaster and mass hysteria as allegations ran rapidly through the small Massachusetts village. The source of the witchcraft charges came from the village individuals’s personal greed and desire of retribution, along with lots of other contributing factors. Abigail, Parris, and the Putnams all utilized this scenario to their benefit, wishing to get some individual fulfillment out of their charges, hence destroying lives of their victims: Elizabeth Proctor, John Proctor, and Sarah Osburn.