The Crucible Essay
It could be said that this work is about sex, its repression and who has control over anyone’s body. Salem is a town where the men have top control, while women are considered second and third citizens at best. Salem itself is a mixture of deep religion, fear of the unknown and any threat that might remove the power of the men over any woman’s body or rights as we know them today.
Any town in this situation today would be considered repressed and its citizens badly downtrodden. They would have very little input from outside, and all problems would be sorted out within the hierarchy of the town.Killing or outing a witch appears to be the only reason for existence of many characters in this work. That and the fanatical at times serving of what is considered God’s Work on the top, but underneath is a delight in finding some way to pay back several slights, insults and harms on women who have been thought to perpetrate these and be backed by God’s approval into the bargain. What more could you ask for?Abigail, one of the central characters, is caught in an affair with one of the powerful men of the town by his wife and got rid of.
This presents Abigail with a perfect chance to stir up trouble for the wife, Elizabeth and she does, even having her thrown in jail. Abigail is also smart enough to use her new-found power to cause as much trouble as she can by uniting women who have stated they have these ‘visions’, the original cause of the panic. Witches are thought to be in league with the Devil, indeed not allowed in this God-fearing town. They are also believed to be endowed with a level of sexuality far advanced above ordinary women.It does not take these young women long to realize they have suddenly gained a lot of power and they wield it viciously, causing high-ranked members of the society to believe what they accuse others of through their ‘visions’. Any slight is not forgiven, but the hapless person who made it tormented with half-truths and downright lies.
This also helps the rather pathetic priest, Parris, is considered a figure of scorn until the trials begin. He then begins to develop a spine as he feeds the hysteria about the girls to the men of the town. Parris is a closet bully to his slave, Tabitha, a black girl. During the trials rage, she can pay him back by being as nasty as she wishes, and it will be excused as Devil’s speech.John Proctor, the main character in many ways, shows he is all too vulnerable as a human by having an affair with Abigail under his wife’s nose.
He is horrified at what Abigail does as revenge, but is reluctant to show himself as mortal. Eventually, stunned by the events taking place, he confesses to the affair, only to find he in turn is thought to be in the pay of the Devil. He refuses to confess to this, which will allow him to escape the gallows and is hung because he values his immortal soul more than his life.