The Exploitation of Authority and the Neglecting of Knowledge

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The Exploitation of Authority and The Neglecting of Knowledge Throughout history, innocent people have often been the victims of another’s ambition. In literature, authors often exploit abuses of power to provoke change in their own eras. Arthur Miller wrote his famous play, The Crucible, to portray the cruelties of power in Salem and connect those abuses to those in his own day and age. Through the characterization of Abigail Williams, Thomas Putnam, and John Proctor, Arthur Miller depicts the exploitation of authority and the abuse of information for ulterior motives in an effort to attack the abuses in the American government in the 1950s. In an endeavor to execute an innocent woman, Abigail Williams falsely accuses the wife of John Proctor of witchcraft in order to have a future with her husband. Abigail gains the power to accuse other women of witchcraft because she was supposedly a witch who worked for the Devil. She is then given the power of a deity and is once described as a “saint”(50) and when “Abigail brings the other girls into the court, and where she walks the crowd will part like the sea for Israel”(50). Once she gains this unforeseen amount of power, Abigail uses her power by seeking vengeance on Elizabeth Proctor, in an attempt to have her killed and out of the way, because of her sexual desire for John Proctor. She even says, “It’s she [Elizabeth] who put me out, you cannot pretend it were you”(21). In Abigail’s eyes, the only thing standing in the way between her and a prosperous future with John Proctor is his wife Elizabeth Proctor. Thus, she accuses Elizabeth to have her executed and thus obtain the future with John Proctor that she was “meant” to have. In addition, Thomas Putnam also abuses his daughter’s ever-increasing political power to convict a neighbor to satisfy his lust for land. Ruth Putnam is one of the five original girls
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