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The Crucible: Good Puritan or Good Person?

In The Crucible, Arthur Miller portrays the two main characters, John Proctor and Reverend John Hale as “good men”. The term “good men” in this play is ambiguous. Reverend John Hale was a good man in the sense of being the perfect and good citizen of Massachusetts in the 1600’s. He was pious, adherent to the laws and beliefs, and a good Puritan Christian. John Proctor, on the contrary would not be considered the greatest citizen. He was not so religious, nor the perfect Christian, and was not so adherent to the Puritan’s laws and beliefs. However, he was still considered a “good man”, as a person rather than being an ideal Puritan citizen. He was very honest, moral, loyal to his friends and family, and was generous. The two men can be contrasted as good Puritan vs. good person.

The most important trait to prove that John Proctor was a good person was his honesty. In every scene in the play that John Proctor is in, his commendable honesty stands out. It didn’t matter how much trouble he would bring himself into, his philosophy was “I may speak my heart” (Miller, p.30). Proctor’s honesty eventually lead to his downfall and death.

The first incident in the play where we see Proctor’s honesty is after the affair he had with Abigail. He realized his mistake and was honest and admitted it to his wife Elizabeth. In the next situation where Proctor is involved he tells the Reverend Parris why he does not like him, and it also gets him into trouble. He tells him, “Can you speak one minute without we land in hell again, I’m sick of hell! (p. 30). He is honest, yet disrespectful to his reverend. While in court, John Proctor is too honest to the judges. He admits his guilt of not being a religious Christian and says ” I have once or twice plowed on Sunday” (p.91) and he also admits not going to church every Sunday. He also admits that he committed adultery and had an affair with Abigail. His most commendable moment of honesty was when he was on death row and would rather die than confess and lie.

Proctor’s morality, and loyalty also contribute to being a good person. When the marshals Herrick and Cheever came to arrest his wife, he stuck with her to protect her, even though she was accused of being a witch.

Captivating Characters in Macbeth and The Crucible

The Captivating Characters in Macbeth and The Crucible

For a play to meet with success, it is essential that it include a cast of interesting and captivating characters. Without interesting characters, the audience would not only be confused by each unimportant character, but possibly puzzled by the plot, disinterested in the theme and ideas, and worst of all, bored by the entire story.

For instance, in “The Crucible” by Arthur Miller, we take an immediate interest in 17-year-old Abigail Williams. Miller portrays her as a vindictive, wicked and persuasive girl. Perhaps persuasive is too mild an adjective, but her evilness or malevolence is indoctrinating, and her manipulative capability leaves the other girls no choice but to follow her lead. Abigail psychologically forces the others to obey her, and is not reluctant to threaten them, or do them physical harm! She is the spark that ignites the inferno of mistrust, guided more by an obsessive love than by malice. There are two sides to Abigail’s nature which are portrayed throughout: the brutal and menacing side, and the heart-broken, passionate side. If Abigail was just a simple, average schoolgirl with not much involvement or relevance to the plot, we may not immediately take such an interest in her.

Similarly, at first, John Proctor appears to be a humble, ordinary farmer with a wife and two children. As the play unfolds, we discover that he is a man with a significant past; a man who has a story to tell. He and his wife are central characters to the play. He has had an affair with Abigail Williams, a girl years younger than hims…

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…houghts and feelings; their inner journey is described verbally, so that the audience receives a first-person recount from the key characters.

The more successful the characters are, the more popular a play becomes. Popularity is evidential by the length of time that a play is discussed, studied, screened, viewed or performed. Conclusively, a poor play with a poor cast, all similar in nature and character, with monotonous scenes which do not contrast, will not last long, and will not have a positive effect on the audience. But a play such as “The Crucible” or “Macbeth”, with many contrasting scenes and characters, whether they be heroic or vindictive, short-tempered or forgiving, will undoubtedly remain successful, maintaining its position as a work of respected literature.

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