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The Young and the Innocent Essay

Alison Croggon once said, “We are all mistaken sometimes; sometimes we do wrong things, things that have bad consequences. But it does not mean we are evil, or that we cannot be trusted ever afterward.” The story of the 1692 Salem Witch Trials is portrayed in Arthur Miller’s play, “The Crucible.” In this drama a troubled girl named Mary Warren fights through the false accusations of other girls and the citizens of Salem, Massachusetts. Mary Warren is an innocent girl stuck in the middle of a bad situation. She is forced to make some harmful decisions in order to protect her own life.

Mary Warren is a young girl that is intimidated easily. She is a follower and her leaders are John Proctor and Abigail Williams. Throughout the play both Proctor and Abigail force Mary to do things that put her life in danger. Proctor said to Mary, “You’re coming to court with me, Mary. You will tell it in the court…You will tell the court how that poppet come here and who stuck the needle in” (Miller 1134). Mary doing what Proctor says will force the other girls to turn on her and put Mary’s life on the line. This time, Mary makes the right choice and tells the truth out of fear of Proctor. Later on, Proctor isn’t so lucky.

The biggest enemy of Mary is her countless fears. She has a fear of disappointing others, a fear of Abigail, and most importantly a fear of death. Looking back on the play, these fears are what control Mary’s decisions. Her fear of disappointing people is shown by the amount of begging and apologizing she does in the play. Since the beginning she has had a fear of Abigail and has always obeyed her. Abigail said, “Let either of you breathe a word…and I will come to you in the black of some terrible night and I will bring a pointy reckoning that will shudder you” (Miller 1107). Abigail was referring to the truth about what happened the night they were caught dancing in the forest. Last but not least, she had a great fear of death. This is such a powerful thing and in Mary’s situation, this fear indirectly made her a murderer. Mary had a choice, tell the truth and get hanged, or lie and sacrifice Proctor’s life in order to save her own.

Mary Warren is a sympathetic character. She had a lot of weight resting on her shoulders and in the end she did not make the right choice. Mary said to Proctor, “You’re the Devils man” (Miller 1151). This put Proctor next in line to be hanged and set Mary free. At the time of the trials Mary was only eighteen and even though technically an adult, she was a child at heart. She had not experienced any hardships of life until one day when she was forced to face the worst of them all, death.

Over all, Mary Warren was a good person but was in the wrong place at the wrong time. She made some good choices and some really poor ones. Mary was able to walk away from the trials with her life and a clear name. Unfortunately, nineteen other innocent people were not as lucky and were hanged. Mary may have condemned John Proctor, but it is important to remember that one mistake does not define you or the outcome of your life.

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