Reputation was very important in Salem. In an environment where reputation plays such an important role, the fear of being guilty rises, when we are talking about witchcraft the only proof that there is, are the witnesses or in this case the victims. This creates problems during the play when trying to demonstrate if the accused really were doing witchcraft. Characters in the play do many things to protect their reputation. The characters that I will talk about in this essay are Parris, John Proctor, Abigail and Danforth.
The Puritans viewed the Indians as devil worshipers, and witches were viewed as servants of the devil. They saw the Devil 70 miles away, and were fearful of them. There was always a fear that the devil was nearby and were always suspicious, and frightened. The Puritans believed that if the Devil could get you to join his ranks you were a witch and shall not be trusted. Women during the time were considered to be weaker than men, and therefore less likely to resist the Devil if he visited them.
The idea of the witches representing manifestation of human desires is a key element as they can be seen as the “alcohol” that “hinders performance”; they stimulate Macbeths desire to be king to such an extent that his own “black” desires cause his ultimate demise. His drive to be King is to some extent ironic as the medieval ages perceived the King to be a representative of God. This creates a sense of irony due to the fact that Macbeth befriends the representatives of the Devil, believes their predictions and commits great sins in order to gain power as a representative of God. To some extent it can also be said that
The structure or backdrop that any event occurs in is imperative to comprehend and analyze the causes and effects of the events. The play takes place in a society strictly governed by theocracy; the Puritans' greatest fear is defiance of God. Anything that does not please God is against Him, acting as compliances with the Devil. This abhorrence of the secular depravity of turning away from God, or in this instance, negotiating with and participating in immoral activities that God would frown upon, facilitates the validity of the accusations against several townspeople. The very idea of witchcraft is reprobated, as Reverend Parris reiterates, "Thomas, Thomas, I pray you, leap not to witchcraft.
Evil is first inferred in Macbeth when we first meet the Weyward Sisters (witches) and they cantillate something: ‘Fair is foul and foul is fair.’ This juxtaposition of words indicates an unnatural feel which creates the feel of imminent evil from a possibly supernatural perpetrator. This line is later reprised by Macbeth in Act 1 Scene 3 when he declares ‘so foul and fair a day I have not seen.’ This could insinuate that Macbeth and the witches may be having similar thoughts without even meeting yet. Alternatively, one could infer that the witches may have already infected Macbeth’s mind with their sinister way of thinking which could give reason as why such a noble man commits regicide. AC Bradley provides a divergent theory on the Weyward Sisters. He says: ‘They are old women, poor and ragged, skinny and hideous, full of vulgar spite, occupied in killing their neighbours' swine or revenging themselves on sailors' wives who have refused them chestnuts.’ In light of this comment, the sisters can be perceived as mad women that exclaim fallacies of success and wealth to warriors and those of weak mind, such as Macbeth, will commit to said fallacies and this will inaugurate their demise.
Macbeth is associated with the witches as they are waiting for him and their riddles mirror his opening remark to Banquo. Jack is the leader of the choir who, when first introduced, are associated with darkness and presented as some kind of a creature/beast. Both presentations of Macbeth and Jack in the beginning of both texts creates a negative atmosphere where the readers already think of them as bad characters who will do wrong, this is down to the presentational devices of the writer who has decided to portray the characters purposely in that particular way. In both texts, power is linked with the breakdown of morality. Both Macbeth and Jack desire power too much, they get hungry for it and it becomes a corrupting force.
Danforth believes Abigail and the girls because he is relying on them as victims of witchcraft to name the witches. He can't expect the witches to admit to the crime so he has no choice but to believe the girls as victims. Danforth is alarmed/surprised by Mary Warren's confession that her and the other girls were pretending to see spirits. If this is proven to be true then the court would look stupid because they have condemned 72 people to death with the evidence that Abigail and the girls were pretending to see spirits. He realises that if the confession is true then innocent people would've died for no reason which would cause an uproar I'm the court.
This whole incident leads into who is the tragic hero in this play, Reverend Hale or John Proctor? John Proctor, married to Elizabeth Proctor has an affair with a young girl by the name of Abigail Williams. Reverend Hale is called in on a case to solve the witch trials and try to find the Devil in Salem and destroy him! I know who looks like the hero in this play, but we can never be too sure. In my opinion it’s the other way around and
He reasons that the witches are evil and not to be trusted “Banquo: That, trusted home,/ Might yet enkindle you unto the crown,/ Besides the Thane of Cawdor. But ‘tis strange:/ And oftentimes, to win us to our harm,/ The instruments of darkness tell us truths,/ Win us with honest trifles, to betray’s/ in deepest consequence” (1.3.129-136) Unlike Macbeth, Banquo is more cautious upon hearing the witches’ prophecies. Although he is an ambitious man himself, he recognizes that they are “instruments of darkness”. Banquo associates the witches with darkness because of their ability to earn Macbeth’s trust by telling him a truth, which he will become the Thane of Cawdor, then feeding into his ruthless ego by prophesying that we will become king. After he hears that he will become king he feels the need to make it come true, even if it means killing Duncan.
“How does Arthur Miller suggest that the tragedy of The Crucible is caused by people making problems of human nature for the work of the devil?” The Crucible is a heart-wrenching play based around trust, love and the choice to lie for a good or worse cause. We witness innocent individuals being locked up and hung for the accusations they are witches. In 1962, when this play was set the people of Salem blamed the work of human nature for the work of the devil because they knew no better. Human Knowledge was far from where it is today, and due to the lack of knowledge during this era, people were forced to believe in the work of the devil, purely because they knew no better. As humans weather we like it or not, we always need something to believe in.