The Role of Vengeance in Arthur Miller's The Crucible Essay

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Throughout the endurance of Arthur Miller's The Crucible, vengeance plays a prominent role in the actions and fates of various characters. In many ways, vengeance fuels the need for retaliation. Disputes among neighbors has bred hatred and then witch trials brought out the vindictiveness of Salem's population. This leads to the deaths of many citizens in Salem by false accusations to the court. Citizens of Salem were utilizing the court system as a means of "extermination" for people who had interests or beliefs, that were contradictory to their own. As Miller states himself, "This predilection of minding other people's business was time-honored among the people of Salem, and it undoubtedly created many suspicions which were to feed the …show more content…

Cheever comes to arrest her for witchery, and with the evidence says, "I find here a poppet Goody Proctor keeps. And in the belly of the poppet a needle's stuck" (Miller 1282). Elizabeth then argues that she was given the poppet by Mary Warren earlier that day, and then retrieves her to confirm her story. In the end, Elizabeth eventually surrenders herself to Cheever and allows him to take her for questioning. Elizabeth is imprisoned and then ultimately sentenced to death at the gallows, thus completing Abigail's vow for retaliation. Another example of vengeance dictating a characters' actions would be the dispute between Mrs. Putnam and Rebecca Nurse. In a scene at Parris's house, Mrs. Putnam asks Rebecca to take a look at her daughter, Ruth, who is also ill. Rebecca dismisses her anxiety and explains that she is just going through a silly season and will tire of it and wake up. Rebecca's optimistic interpretation of Ruth's condition is not favorably received by Mrs. Putnam. She comments that, "You think it God's work you should never lose a child, nor grandchild either, and I bury all but one" (Miller 1249). Shortly after, one might conclude Mrs. Putnam suspects Rebecca of murder, when she asks Hale, "Is it a natural work to lose seven children before they live a day" (Miller 1256). Since every child Rebecca delivered that belonged to Goody Putnam died, she believes that Rebecca is using her spirit to kill

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