Essay on A Test of Character in The Crucible by Arthur Miller

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A Test of Character in The Crucible

A crucible refers to a harsh test, and in The Crucible, by Arthur Miller, each person is challenged in a severe test of his or her character or morals. Many more people fail than pass, but three notable characters stand out. Reverend John Hale, Elizabeth Proctor, and John Proctor all significantly change over the course of the play.

All participants in the witch-hunt were influenced by the society that existed in Salem, Massachusetts in 1692. Salem operated as a theocracy, a government ruled by and subject to religious authority. In a theocracy, people's sins are not forgiven, so that when they commit an indiscretion, they are left feeling guilty. "The witch-hunt was....a long overdue
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However, he still has faith that the court will reveal the innocence of the accused. "If Rebecca Nurse be tainted, then nothing's left to stop the whole green world from burning. Let you rest upon the justice of the court; the court will send her home, I know it." (p. 71) By the time upstanding citizens like Martha Corey and Rebecca Nurse are condemned, Hale had begun to listen to his conscience about the validity of the court. As Hale hears Mary Warren and John Proctor's evidence against Abby, he finally allows himself to pay attention to his morals and realize the court's corruption. Although Hale quits the court, his remorse at the seventy-two death warrants that he signed leads him to try to undo the chaos he had started by trying to get the remaining accused to confess their sins and thereby save their physical lives, as opposed to what he had been trying to do when he first arrived and save their spiritual lives. Hale's entire personality changes from the beginning of the play to the end, as shown by his change from "Here is all the invisible world, caught, defined, and calculated. In these books the Devil stands stripped of all his brute disguises. Have no fear now-we shall find him out if he has come
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