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Sociological Analysis of the Crucible Essay

Sometimes, the person who should be the one wielding the power has none at all. In Arthur Miller’s play, The Crucible, he recounts the events of the Salem Witch Trials. As he tells the events that occurred, he clearly paints out who held the power and who should have been in power during the trials. In Miller’s play, the person who holds the most power in Salem during the Witch Trials is Abigail Williams. Despite being a child and an orphan, for her parents had died and she was sent to live her uncle Mr. Parris, she was able to gain unlimited power during this short span of time. When Mr. Parris caught her and other local girls out dancing at night, she threatened the others, “Let either of you breathe a word, or the edge of a word, about the other things, or I will come to you in the black of some terrible night…” (20), and they listened to her. None of the girls would speak against Abigail, and when Mary Warren did, the other girls did not join Mary; they protected Abigail and listened to her every word. As the play goes on, Abigail gains more and more power, accusing people in the town as witches.

At the end of Act 1, Abigail cries out to Reverend Hale, “I want the light of God… I saw Sarah Good with the Devil! I saw Goody Osburn with the Devil!”(48). Unfortunately for the accused, they were arrested and were tried by Judge Danforth, and were found to be guilty of witchcraft. Abigail becomes a saint in Salem, saving the villagers from the witches; however, little do they know, Abigail is using her newfound power for her own good. When she accuses Goody Proctor of being a witch, no one questions her; Abigail is helping the town out. But, the reason she accuses Goody Proctor is because Abigail secretly wants to be with John Proctor, Goody Proctor’s husband. When John Proctor defends his wife in court, he confesses to adultery with Abigail, and tells them that is why Abigail accused Goody Proctor in the first place. John Proctor tells Judge Danforth, “But it is a whore’s vengeance… she thinks to dance with me on my wife’s grave!”(110).

Nether less, Abigail has power that John Proctor does not, she can ‘see’ the Devil, and Danforth believes her. Abigail Williams has the power in Salem, though she does not deserve it. Though Abigail has authority in Salem, the one who really deserves the power is John Proctor. Throughout the whole affair, Proctor is the only one who knows what is right and what is wrong. When Mr. Cheever comes to Proctor’s house to collect his wife, Goody Proctor, Proctor tells them, “Is the accuser always holy now? We are what we always were in Salem, but now the little crazy children are dangling the keys of the kingdom, and common vengeance writes the law!”(77). Proctor accurately sums up the situation in Salem, yet no one with any real power believes him, and they all discount him.

Later on in the play, Proctor tells Judge Danforth, “I believe she means to murder,” (104). John Proctor was trying to tell the Judge that Abigail really was a bad person, not the saint she was painted out to be. But, Judge Danforth was under Abigail’s spell, and didn’t listen to John Proctor, even though he was the only person who actually was thinking clearly during this whole situation. John Proctor was the only who kept clear head during the Salem Witch Trials, and if he had held the power, not Abigail, things would have changed drastically.

In The Crucible, by Arthur Miller, the events of the Salem Witch Trials are recounted. As the play continues, Miller accurately shows who has the power and who should have had the power. Abigail Williams, despite being an orphan, was hailed as a saint and everyone listened to what she said; however, she was a liar and a whore. John Proctor, who was accused of being a witch and was never listened to, had a clear head and understood what was happening unlike the other villagers. The Salem Witch Trials could have been avoided if the power had been taken out of Abigail’s hand and given to John.


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