How Fear Motivates the Characters in Arthur Miller's Play, The Crucible

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At times, fear motivates people to behave unscrupulously. Personal fears instigate some characters in Arthur Miller’s play The Crucible to cry witch. Reverend Parris fears losing his job, Abigail fears prosecution and losing John Proctor, and Tituba fears physical retribution. Fear induces people to defend their personal whims and use their power to harm others. Reverend Parris’ fear of losing his job provokes him to cry witch. Reverend Parris’ daughter feigns to be in a coma. When the doctor bade Susanna tell Reverend Parris that he “might look to unnatural things for the cause of it” (9), he denies that possibility because he fears that rumors of witchcraft under his roof would help his “many enemies” (10) to drive him from his …show more content…
Abigail’s fear of prosecution and of losing John Proctor causes her to cry witch. When Reverend Hale asks Abigail if she called “the Devil last night” (42), she realizes her peril, and says “I never called him! Tituba, Tituba . . . “ (42), diverting the accusations from herself onto Tituba. Abigail notices Warren storing a needle in the belly of a poppet after sewing it in court. Abigail sticks a needle into her stomach the next day and cries witchcraft. Later, the blame of witchery falls on Elizabeth Proctor because Mary Warren gave her the stabbed poppet. Abigail designs to see Elizabeth Proctor hanged, and believes that John Proctor will be “singing secret hallelujahs” (152) with her when she does. Abigail cries witch on Elizabeth Proctor so that she does not lose John Proctor. The driving fears of Abigail and Tituba contrast in that Abigail’s are complex and twisted whereas Tituba’s are primal and straightforward. Tituba’s fear of physical harm motivates her to cry witch. Reverend Hale’s harsh treatment of Tituba causes her to cower from him even before being accused of witchcraft. Tituba’s fear increases when Abigail accuses her of making her “drink blood” (43). Reverend Hale in turn concludes that Tituba serves the Devil. Reverend Hale orders her to wake Betty who she has sent her “spirit out upon” (44). Initially, Tituba pleads that she “don’t compact with no Devil” (44) but when she realizes that she
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