In “The Crucible” children’s lies lead to allegations of witchcraft and the breaking up of a community. Why do people lie and what can the consequences be?
The word lie means “a false statement deliberately presented as being true” according to the American Heritage Dictionary, and it’s a very common habit in everyone. When it comes to lying, we can find white and normal lies. White lies are often harmless, whereas normal lies can be dangerous because of the various consequences they might have. In this essay I’m going to present two arguments explaining the reasons why lies are used, which are to protect their reputation or get themselves out of a compromising situation, and to have a motive in order to commit an act of vengeance or violence. Then, I will give four examples regarding the book “The crucible” and modern day events, which I will then compare.
One of the main reasons why people make use of lies is because when they are accused of something that can get them into trouble, the best option at that moment seems to be denying their acts. However, lying can have severe consequences depending on how much you twist the truth when doing it, and even if it doesn’t make much sense, people are actually aware of what can happen later but since they feel there’s no other choice, they lie anyways. A clear example of this can be found in “The crucible” by Arthur Miller, where a group of girls are caught performing witchcraft, and some dancing naked around a fire. In the time of the book, dancing was strictly forbidden and witchcraft was a matter nobody dared to discuss. Therefore, anyone being related to any of these would be punished.
The group of girls had a leader who was Reverend Parris’ niece, Abigail, and whose cousin, also in the group, was Betty, Parris’ daughter. They were performing witchcraft in order to get men to fall in love with them, but Abigail threatened the other girls making them lie about their actions so that she wasn’t punished. Even though they could have disobeyed her, telling the truth would have also jeopardized them given that they had as well taken part in the event. This big lie led to several false allegations against many innocent people whose families were torn apart because of the whole scandal, and also ruined important people’s reputations in the society.
An example of modern day would be the Lewinsky scandal which first broke on January 17, 1998, basically involving the then current president Bill Clinton and one of the White house’s employees, Monica Lewinsky. It started as rumors in websites, but people seemed to be very interested since they regarded the nation’s leader. Clinton denied everything a million times as we can see in the following statement: “…I want to say one thing to the American people. I want you to listen to me. I’m going to say this again: I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky. I never told anybody to lie, not a single time; never. These allegations are false…”
However, after further investigations, evidence such as recorded tapes and a dress of Lewinsky’s stained with his semen were taken into consideration and it was concluded that President Clinton had indeed, had sexual relations with her. Overwhelmed by accusations and strong proof, Clinton finally admitted on August 17, 1998, to have had an inappropriate physical relationship with Monica Lewinsky. Even though Clinton’s wife forgave him, many people had a new opinion of their president and lost some respect for him.
These two examples show us how far a person would go to protect their reputation or get out of a problem, being totally selfish given that many times lies like these can benefit you while hurting others. We can see this because Abigail didn’t care who was punished for something they didn’t do as long as she was safe, and President Clinton was maybe trying to protect his family from breaking up but in my opinion, he was just trying to protect his reputation as an important entity.
Another reason why people lie is because they sometimes need a motive to hurt someone else, being this for revenge or just pure envy. We often see people committing murders and harming others in any way possible because they seek revenge and/or envy them. Some are so intense about their feelings that they are indifferent to the consequences their acts might lead to and would rather go to jail or even die as long as they have satisfied their sick desires. On the other hand, we have people who do care about what may happen to them when performing inappropriate actions, reason for which they look for any motive possible. However, sometimes there isn’t a motive at all, so they have to create one and they lie by starting rumors and giving false statements in order to accomplish what they want.
We can see this in “The Crucible” when Abigail lies about performing witchcraft and makes other people take the blame. When in court, she gave Mary Warren a poppet with a needle in her stomach, and told her to give it to Elizabeth Proctor in order to frame her so that she would be blamed of witchcraft and that way, Abigail could take her place as John Proctor’s wife.
A modern day example is the Big lie Bush invented against Iraq. He claimed Sadam Hussein had in his power weapons of mass destruction and would use them on America. However, this was not true and it was proved after thorough investigations. Bush made these accusations because he wanted to attack Iraq but he didn’t have any good reason, so saying they were going against the USA made it almost mandatory to attack them back.
These examples show us that when a person wants something, lies can sometimes help get it, like Abigail who tried to make a false accusation against Proctor’s wife, whose place she wanted to take. The same happened with Bush, who wanted so bad to take revenge on Iraq, he invented a lie about Hussein. This clearly reveals a certain selfishness from both since they have no interest at all about anyone but themselves.
In conclusion, we can say lies are all around us at all times and sometimes we need them but it is not right to use them. In the previous examples, this affirmation is confirmed, showing us the consequences lying can lead to.