The Impact of the Power of Lies, Reputation, and the Theme of Revenge in The Crucible, a Play by Arthur Miller
Power of lies + Reputation = REVENGE
Revenge can be taken in many different ways, such as fights, lies , arguments, etc. In Arthur Miller’s Crucible, the theme of revenge plays a major role. He based this book on the Salem Witch Trials which took place in the early 1950’s. All the characters were somehow related to the actual people during the Witch Trials. The book shows how different characters lie and fight their way to get the revenge they think their enemy deserves. The characters in this book use Satanic ideology to take revenge. They lie and accuse each other of witchcraft, which leads to them being hanged by the court. The book gives examples of reputation, power of lies but the most impactful is the theme of revenge.
Love can hurt people in many ways. It can lead people to commit dangerous acts in return for revenge. In the story crucible Abigail had a previous affair with John Proctor, who is now married to Elizabeth and still has feelings for him. Abigail is jealous of Elizabeth because she feels that she should be in place of her. Elizabeth is upset about this situation and can only think that “She is blackening my name in the village, She is telling lies about me!”. In order to take revenge and bring John back to her , she accuses Elizabeth of stabbing her in the abdomen . Abigail says that Elizabeth sent a spirit to commit the act . With all the fuss about Witchcraft going around Salem, distressed Ann Putnam, thinks that Rebecca Nurse is responsible for killing her children. She is jealous that Rebecca Nurse has many children and grandchildren and she caused the death of Ann’s children. She expresses her feelings to Rebecca by saying “You think it God’s work you should never lose a child, nor grand-child either, and I bury all but one? There are wheels within wheels in this village, and fires within fires!’. She uses this quote to express the existence of the supernatural and use it to explain the events which have no answer to them. This creates a big impact on the village as the court believes her and she is hanged for committing the act of witchcraft. Ann’s husband; Thomas does not like the people in Salem, because of the fact that his brother – in – law was not elected as the minister of Salem. He uses this period of witch trials as his way to get revenge from the people and take the lands of people who were getting hanged. These characters use witchcraft and the devil to pervade the people who the characters want to take revenge from
Reputation is one of the other themes which is portrayed in the book. On the other hand, some characters are more worried about their own reputation such as Abigail and her uncle. Even though Abigail knows that she had attempted to commit witchcraft, she tells her friends Betty and Ruth not to say a word about it because it will ruin her reputation. When her Uncle asks Abigail about the dance they were performing around the fire , she lies and tells him that they were only dancing nothing more, but her uncle says “ You drank the blood Abby. You didn’t tell them that!”. This shows that both Abigail and her uncle care more about their reputation than being accused of witchcraft. Abigail’s uncle ; Parris who is also concerned about his reputation as to what people will think when they find out that the person who started all this fuss was his own niece. Even the reason to John Proctor’s death was because of the fact he cared so much about his reputation. He wanted his name more than his life. However the main reason which led him to this was that Abigail wanted to revenge from Proctor about how he had left her. So it was basically a domino effect from that point on.
The theme of lies is very common in the book. Most characters lie to get out of trouble or to get someone in trouble. Even though lies and deceit does not have a huge impact on the story, it is one of the reasons people want to take revenge.Sick Betty Parris thought that it was a good idea to act as she was sick so she could get away with the punishment she would have to face if anyone found out that she was on of the people who were dancing in the woods naked. She had gotten all the attention from the villagers and succeeded in removing the thought from other people’s head that she was one of the girls who participated in the dance around the fire. Abigail’s upset attitude causes a lot of problems in Salem. She deceits people by saying she saw the devil and creates false situations and tell the other girls to go along with it. Lying also turns people away from one another, Abigail did not only lie to the judges and girls but also to Proctor. Still having an affinity for him , Abigail thought that maybe lying about other people such as Elizabeth would lead to Proctor supporting her again . Through the power of lies and deceit, the characters work their way through to get the revenge their opponent deserves.
Even though the theme of reputation and power of lies plays a role in the story, it does not have such a big impact as the theme of revenge. They act as a spark to actually commit the act of revenge. Abigail had ruined her reputation through the power of lies and deceit. She did all this to take revenge from Elizabeth. Thomas Putnam was jealous that his brother-in-law was not chosen to be the minister so he decided to take the land from anyone who got hanged as revenge. All of these examples of revenge were caused through lies and deceit. People who worried about their reputation, lied to others to get their name such as Abigail who lied to her uncle about drinking blood during the dance. She did this so she her reputation won’t be ruined. To sum it all up, The theme of revenge was a more dominant aspect of The Crucible when compared to other themes such as the power of lies and reputation.
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