The Crucible by Arthur Miller

The Crucible
This is the addition of The Crucible, which I borrowed from my friend to read for school. Now usually I do not review books for school, because well, they’re for school and by default I generally end up despising them, just because I have to read it.
I have two reasons, however, for reviewing The Crucible: The first: this books caused me to think a lot about certain issue, and the second: the assignment that caused me to read this book was to pick one of the books off the list she provided us, and review certain aspects of it, and I am hoping this will help center my thoughts to review certain aspects of it, and write a good enough essay.
The class is AP U.S. History, and the teacher is a hard ass, so I am going to try and do everything in my power to do well in this class, before I even lay foot in her classroom.
So for those of you who don’t know The Crucible is a play about the Salem Witch Hunt, and is ultimately, well, thought-provoking.
These thoughts are a bit clearer now that I’m not angrily texting my friend about the injustice of it all.
****Note this review will contain spoilers for what happens in the play, so if for some reason, you would prefer not to know what happens, I suggest you don’t read it.
The book starts with Betty Paris being “sick” and Reverend Parris accusing his ward Abigail and slave, Tituba, of doing things to her in the woods.
Eventually they hear words of witchcraft spoken and the girls began saying that they were spying on the Devil and his agents for god.
They go on to accuse a good number of people. That is the most of Act One.
Act Two goes on as a conversation between John Proctor and his wife Elizabeth Proctor. Elizabeth, the now ward of Parris, used to be the ward of the Proctors until Elizabeth kicked her out for sleeping with John.
Elizabeth and John have three children together, and while John works to please his wife, Elizabeth is still hurting over his unfaithfulness towards her.
They go on to have an argument about it, during which at some point, Elizabeth states that their now ward/servant girl, Mary Warren, who was forbidden to leave the house, left.
Mary Warren comes home and tell them that she has official business in the court. John is mad at her, but she tells them that she saved Elizabeth’s life when they threw out her name in the accusations, then gives Elizabeth a doll and goes off to bed after a stand off with John.
Later on Elizabeth is arrest for witchcraft, having a doll that Mary gave her with the needle in it, when Abigail was stabbed with a needle earlier that night.
After trying to stop them, they take her anyways. John calls Marry down, and tells her she’ll confess that she and the other girls are lying to the court (after Marry confesses to him). Marry is terrified of being hung, but also of Proctor, so she agrees.
Act Three is the farmers, including Proctor trying to save their wives. They have written statements and bring Marry along who tells of her lies.
They call on the other girls, who then all act as if they see Marry as a bird in a vision and pretend to be possessed by her.
John at some point, admits to have laid with Abigail, which his wife knew and which is why Abigail had accused her. They call upon Elizabeth to tell them, to which Elizabeth refuses in trying to save her husband.
Marry then accuses Proctor of working for the Devil and coming to her in the night and threatening her. He doesn’t deny it, probably tried of all of the bullshit, and he and the other farmers are accused,
Act Four, the final act, Reverend Hale, who left in Act Three, has come to try and get the people to confess, as he knows they’re innocent, but confession is the only way they will not be hanged.
They try to get Elizabeth to get her husband to confess to it, so he’ll be saved, she tells him, in a way, to do what he believes, (Elizabeth is pregnant), he confesses but refuses to let them show it in writing or to accuse others of witchcraft like they try to get him to do.
In the end, he and all the others, with exception of his wife are hung.
This book enraged me in a way I cannot describe with all the injustice. I didn’t really feel it until they arrested Proctor’s wife for possessing a doll given to her by Mary, who had been with Abigail when she made it.
I felt for Proctor who did everything in his power to protect his wife. He and Elizabeth had some major issues, with him having cheated and her not being able to forgive him, despite all he’d done for her.
Then it goes on to show the farmers, Proctor, Giles, and Francis Nurse, all showing up to defend their wives, which I personally find kind of sweet.
And then Marry ends up accusing Proctor and at this point he’s so tired of all of this bullshit he admits, and they imprison him.
The way I see it, this whole book is one big injustice.
In history…. The colonies, they well… They were on their own. They only had each other, and they couldn’t really just leave on colony for another.
The southern colonies, they had tobacco holding them together, while the North, barely had anything, but each other and their faith.
Faith was the center of everything, they had no golden crop, they had nothing to offer the motherland, back at home. They were literally on their own.
And suddenly you have Reverend Parris, who is paranoid of everyone,accuses his slave and ward of practicing witchcraft with his slave and hurting his daughter.
Then comes the witchcraft.
And the girl, Abigail, Betty, Marry Warren, Mercy, they have been given too much power, when they claim they were agents of God working to find agents of the devil.
And all of a sudden, witchcraft spreads like wildfire, a person could accuse their neighbor of cursing a pig or killing their child and that person would be arrested.
And then they’d only be freed if they confessed to witchcraft a crime they never committed,
John Proctor and Reverend Hale, were two of the more sensible characters, in my opinion.
Now Reverend Hale was one of the initial people who arrest the accused and believed Abigail, but in Act Three, he initially warns that they may come after Elizabeth, and in Act Three, you see him begin to realize that this is all false, and tries to get the prisoners to admit in order to save themselves.
Hale and Parris are eager, by the end for a confession, in my belief, because they know these people are innocent and want them to be saved.
Proctor, was always sensible. He knew what was what, he tried to save his wife and the others, but in the end it wasn’t enough.
In the end, the liars and accusers ran away, and ultimately condemned multiple innocent people to be hanged.
Proctor, being more honorable, hung in part, because he refused to name others in the cells. He refused to condemn his friends and neighbors, like so many others did in the name of God, to save himself.
That was also a part of being pardon, you had to name other witches, accuse others. And he didn’t.
That’s pretty damn…. Honorable, I’d say, especially when your life is on the line.
And in the end, all who were hanged, or at least those in the story who were killed, held their heads high and claimed, rightfully, their innocence.
This book shows how much harm words can do. It shows beliefs being twisted for people’s own selfish causes, it shows innocent people condemned to die, just because a few refuse to tell the truth.
This book, this play, shows the worst of humanity. That we, humans, can be viscous, cruel, selfish, heartless, when it suits our own needs.
It shows how religion can be used to justify awful deeds.
If you look hard enough, you see the things represented in this book in every day life. If you don;t see it, maybe it’s because you aren’t allowing yourself to.
But look. Because people hurting and accusing others for personal gain or to save themselves and twisting religion around to justify harming others, happens all the damn time.
No human and no religion, is pardoned from this.
Another thing, like I said before is this book is a product of the time, which the story takes place. These people, in the north, they clung to religion, because it was what they had.
Back then Church and State were one in the same, though many people today seems to forget they are not separate.
But they were the same and what the church said was law, the bible was law of all mankind in that region, everything was based off religion.
When people twisted around religion and fed off the only thing people clung to to survive in the brutal area, they went along with it. The church was the authority, why would it lie.
And when people could make a profit of it, of the lies, they seized the chance and no one in the town would be any wiser, because why would God, lie to them?
One thing I liked about the book was, in the beginning of it, it would break off sort of into the narrative of the author, and one of the things stated is before the Monotheistic religions, the gods of the underworld, weren’t really bad or evil. All of the gods did bad things, but they weren’t solely bad.
Maybe that’s just something to think about.

If you want thought provoking, I say read The Crucible. Plus it’s really short which is why I read it, because I want to get back to my happy YA books. And say what you will about YA being depressing, but it is nothing compared to some of the adult books I’ve read and looked at for AP US History.
If you want some bad, heart wrenching books, come to me, I’ll give you books that deal with racism or abuse, et cetera. Hell, I read The Crucible, because I found out the ending of Sarah’s Key and it hurt too much for me to take and I hadn’t even read the damn book.
My family reads this series of Preston and Child books, the Pendergast series, and one of the books that sat closest to me, ended with the female officer of the cruise ship trying to crash it, because her life and career had been ruined to the hardcore sexism she’d faced in her life.
That still haunts me.

So…. I will try to write my essay and finish all AP summer assignments, by tomorrow, I pray, because I can’t take this much longer, though it is my fault for carrying it out so long.

And then I will go back to my peaceful YA and SAT and ACT studies.

Peace and Blessings,

-Kit Cat

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