Intolerance Theme In The Crucible

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The Crucible is a tragic play written by Arthur Miller in 1953. It dramatizes and fictionalizes the Salem witch trials. The play has many prevalent themes, and the main characters both advance and facilitate these themes.
The three most prevalent themes in The Crucible are intolerance, hysteria, and reputation. Because this play is set 1692/3 Puritan Salem, Massachusetts, the main theme of intolerance is widespread. In this setting, the church and state were one, making this sins of an individual public concern. Throughout the trials, intolerance for any deviation in thought and behavior is quickly made known. Any form of dissent is categorized as evil, the devil’s presence. The community’s ultimate expression of intolerance is the witch trials. …show more content…

John Proctor is a farmer who lives outside of Salem. He is married to Elizabeth, and is known as an upstanding, honest, and blunt-spoken member of the community. He is, however, the play’s tragic hero. His flaw is his lust for Abigail Williams, with whom he has an affair. This affair results in Abigail’s jealousy of Joh’s wife, Elizabeth, and sets the play in motion. When the trials begin, John withholds the information of the affair to protect his name, playing into the theme of reputation. By divulging this information early, John could have halted the trials. Though because he waits to give that information, the hysteria had grown so much due to his lack of inaction, that he himself is arrested or being a witch. Thus, his silence advanced the town’ hysteria. Proctor eventually makes a true personal and faithful stand to die rather than sign an untrue confession, but he becomes a victim of the town’s intolerance and is hanged. Abigail Williams, the second major character, contrasts John Proctor. She is relatively non-complex, and is most decidedly the villain. She is written as a Jezebel figure and is driven only by her jealousy, sexual lust, and desire for power. Abigail tells lies and manipulates the entire town, starting up the witch trials to serve her own purposes. She plays off of the town’s inbred intolerance to send nineteen people to their deaths in order to gain revenge on Elizabeth Proctor. By inciting and fueling the hysteria, she gets John Proctor killed for slighting her. Because she was an orphan and unmarried young woman, she had no reputation in Salem and was considered only better than the slaves. Because of this, she had nothing to lose by starting this persecution marathon. Even though John Proctor and Abigail Williams are opposites, their connections and the setting of Salem cement their roles in the

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