Guilt In The Crucible Essay

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Living a sheltered life, completing the same routine day after day, and not being able to read, write, or do anything but pray. These are everyday struggles Puritans of Salem, Massachusetts faced. In Arthur Miller’s play, The Crucible, he explains the hysterical outbreak of the Salem Witch Trials. With many reasons for the occurrence, guilt is the most prominent. This is because Puritans wanted to be seen as good people in the eyes of God and wanted respect and attention from others. Overtime, Puritans discovered guilt was an outlet for achieving respect from others. Characters in The Crucible use guilt as motivation to obtain unwarranted respect from others and as a result, they are able to gain self-gratification without repercussions, maintain…show more content…
In act four, Parris is convincing Danforth to postpone the hangings of John Proctor and Rebecca Nurse to give them more time to confess yet, Danforth will not budge. As Parris begs Danforth to delay the hangings he states, “[He] cannot pardon [the hangings] when twelve [were] already hanged for the same crime” (119). Danforth is explaining he will not postpone the hangings scheduled because it would not be fair to the twelve people who already died. Danforth feels guilty for not being able to postpone the hangings. He knows that if he acted on his guilt, his image would be ruined and he would not be perceived as a fair judge. Ultimately, guilt is used to gain mutual, unwarranted respect from others, while using others as collateral damage. Throughout The Crucible guilt was used in many ways. To summarize, Abigail used her guilt to receive attention, and Cheever used guilt to obtain respect while Danforth suppressed his guilt to protect his reputation, and Proctor reflected his guilt onto Elizabeth for self-gain. To conclude, guilt plays an important role in The Crucible because without it, Puritans would not have an outlet for self-gain and to be seen as a good person in the eyes of
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