Common Elements Of Human Nature In Arthur Miller's The Crucible

Decent Essays
Throughout history, common elements of human nature repeats itself in situations of distress. In the spring of 1692, the small town of Salem, Massachusetts is tormented by ideas of witchcraft and evil. A few of the young girls in Salem are found dancing and acting “possessed” in the woods. One of the girls, Betty, falls ill. Many of the townspeople believe witchcraft is involved due to their lack of medical information. The girls use this assumption, especially Abigail Reverend Parris is niece, to their advantage. These girls began accusing other townspeople of Witchcraft to avoid getting in trouble and began a widespread hysteria that leads to the execution of nineteen and prosecution of hundreds of others. This test of faith and honesty brought to light the personality of the people of Salem. Arthur Miller uses this time to reflect the modern times of the Salem Witchcraft Trials, the Red Scare of the 1950s. In Arthur Miller's play, The Crucible, elements of Greek tragedy including the tragic hero and a common evil advance the play's exploration into human nature. In stories of Greek tragedy there is always a character defined as the “tragic hero” who has some fault in themselves that leads to their downfall. When Proctor is left alone in a room with his ex-mistress, Proctor declares “Abby, I may think of you softly from time to time but I will cut off my hand before I’ll ever reach for you again” (22). John Proctor’s tragic fault was his affair with Abigail. It is human
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