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Insight into the Characters of the Crucible

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Insight on the Salem Trials

A Crucible is a container of metal that is heated to a high temperature. In the play The Crucible by Arthur Miller, three characters gain insight about themselves, and others. These characters are Elizabeth Proctor, Reverend Hale, and John Proctor. All of these characters changed from the beginning to the end.

First Elizabeth Proctor is the wife of John Proctor. Together, they have three boys. She is a cold woman who is a decent person. However she cannot forgive her husband's adultery until just before he died. In the beginning before the witch trails, John has an affair with their housekeeper Abigail Williams. When Elizabeth finds out, she fires Abigail. Their love for each after the affair was weak. Then the witch trails came and Elizabeth is arrested for witchcraft. She is accused of stabbing Abigail with a needle. Which they find as witchcraft. The whole time she was in jail, John was fighting to have her released. When Elizabeth finds this out, she realizes how much John still loves her and how sorry he is for having the affair. When John is sentenced to death, Hale and Danforth are trying to get Elizabeth to have John confess. She says," He his goodness now. God forbid I take it from him!"(134) At the end she forgives him and loves him again.

Second Reverend Hale was called into Salem thinking that he will rid Salem of the devil and all his followers. Hale spoke to the townspeople and said, "Have no fear now---we shall find him out if he has come among us, and I mean to crush him utterly if he has shown his face!"(39) At first, Hale thinks that there is an actual devil in the town, because of the children. Hale thinks that must defeat it. Hale is trying to show the people of Salem that he is their savior, and that he knows exactly what to do. Danforth accuses Proctor of lying about his affair with Abigail. Hale then accuses him of witchcraft. Hale realizes the madness and tells Danforth to, "Stop now before another is condemned! I may shut my conscience to it no more--private vengeance is working through this testimony!"(133). Hale believes that people are accusing those that they don't like and want to get rid of. Hale does not want another innocent person to be convicted. Hale tells Elizabeth about life, "Life, woman, life is God's most precious gift; no principle, however glorious, may justify the taking of it." (122) Hale is saying that no man has the right to punish another man by death. Hale now believes that only God can truly judge someone.

John Proctor starts out as a man who could not confess his adultery. In the beginning, John is in a heated argument with his wife when she brings up his sin with Abigail and he replies, "Spare me! I cannot speak but I am doubted, every moment judged for lies, as though I come into a court when I come into this house!"



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