Figures Of Authority And A Injustice In The Play The Crucible by Arthur Miller

Categories: Poems

As salem looks into the eyes of hysteria and tragedy, characters face inner turmoil and questions their moral beliefs. The play, The Crucible by Arthur Miller, was written during a time of hysteria regarding Communism and being falsely accused of Contempt of congress. This feeling of delirium is displayed in the character John Proctor as must decide if the value of integrity outweighs his reputation. Hale struggles to do what’s right and to ditch his past beliefs. Danforth's reputation faces moral truth as he starts to question Abigail's integrity.

John, Hale, and Danforth’s internal war with making the right decision and upholding a wanted reputation stood as the downfall or saving grace to certain characters.

John places his moral integrity above the value of himself which ultimately killed him but restored his soul. In order to choose what is right, Proctor must confess to his sins and by doing so, he could lose his reputation. Proctor was prepared to lose all he stands for in order to save Elizabeth.

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He proclaims to Danforth “ I have know her (Abigail), sir. I have known her” (Miller 375) . By committing to adultery, he is now seen as a lecher and a good for nothing man. Proctor decides to choose the ethics of integrity and loyalty than to confess and blacken his friends’ reputations. Proctor screams, “ I mean to deny nothing!” with a cry of his whole soul (Miller 284). Proctor was unwilling to confess, well knowing that he would die wrongfully because of this.

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Danforth, a man of great power, allows his inflexibility and desire to uphold his harsh reputation blurr his probity, resulting in the death of innocent people. In the courtroom, Danforth intensely questions Proctor but is coming from a one-sided mindset. He states to Abigail “And if she tell me, child, it were for harlotry, may God spread His mercy on you !” (Miller 396). Danforth is horrified by the realization that Abigail’s accusations may be based on jealousy, and he ignores this possibility and attacks Proctor to perserve his self-respect. Danforth shows the unfair effect of the logical extension of belief in witchcraft in by saying “We must rely upon her victims—and they do testify, the children certainly do testify. As for the witches, none will deny that we are most eager for all their confessions. Therefore, what is left for a lawyer to bring out? I think I have made my point. Have I not?” ( Miller 93). Danforth is blind to whether or not the victims are trustworthy because he cannot fathom that women or children would lie to him, a judge, because of his high reputation he holds of himself.

Hale embodies the moral contradictions of the play, and despite the fact that at times allows his social perceptions and desire to fit in determine his decisions, he is willing to change his mind when confronted with the truth. At first, Hale came to Salem full of pride in himself and abilities, only to have that pride result in the deaths of others. Hale defies the negative effects of reputation and brings veracity to the town. He contradicts Danforth and states, “I am a minister of the Lord, and I dare not take a life without there be a proof so immaculate no slightest qualm of conscience may doubt it” (Miller 92). He warns Elizabeth that no one's pride or reputation should be the reason of a life lost by saying , “I came into this village like a bridegroom to his beloved, bearing gifts of high religion; the very crowns of holy law I brought, and what I touched with my bright confidence, it died; and where I turned the eye of my great faith, blood flowed up” (Miller 122). Hale takes responsibility for the blood on his hands for the miscarriage of justice and realizes that hysteria is the issue in Salem, not witchcraft.

Reputation infest Salem with injustice and chaos whether it be John, a sinful man who dies with integrity, Judge Danforth, a crude man who sends the innocent to their death, or Hale, a man who sees his wrong doings and attempts to bring truth. In a town where social standing determines your worth, reputation was key. Its what what made the Reverend Hale begin to doubt whether the accused individuals were actually guilty and why John Proctor refused to sign a false confession. Integrity is blurred in with the perceptions of reputation and pushes all three characters to make decisions out of fear, leaving Salem filled with many innocent graves. 

Updated: Apr 19, 2023
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Figures Of Authority And A Injustice In The Play The Crucible by Arthur Miller. (2022, May 24). Retrieved from

Figures Of Authority And A Injustice In The Play The Crucible by Arthur Miller essay
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