The Crucible the audience is supplied with an array of varying characters. Arthur Miller effectively categorizes the characters of the play into two juxtaposing categories; the accusers, and the accused. The accusers are led by the antagonist of the play, Abigail Williams, whereas the accused are led by the protagonist of the play, John Proctor. The audience sympathizes with John Proctor not only because he has been falsely accused, but also because he is a representation of the human condition. In contrast, Miller causes the audience to despise the accusers in order to exemplify the injustice of McCarthy.
John Proctor is the primary character in the play that evokes pathos in the audience. Proctor made the infamous mistake of committing adultery and lechery with Abigail. “Baby, 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” (peg. 18). Miller conceals the details and the extent of John and Abigail previous relationship, although the audience can clearly see that John is regretful, and Abigail is desperately in love. “And now you bid me tear the light out of my eyes? I will not, cannot! You loved me, John Proctor, and whatever sin it is, you love me yet! (peg. 19). Although lechery and adultery are both sins, Miller presented John in a noble way which allows the audience to sympathize with him. Instead of highlighting the details of Abigail and John’s relationship, Miller chose to highlight John’s struggle for atonement. “(angered- at himself as well): You’ll speak nothing’ of Elizabeth! ” (peg. 19). John Proctor is essentially the only character that the audience can identify with. While the audience sympathizes with all of the accused, John is the only character that the audience can empathic with.
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Miller chose to place John as the foremost of the accused because he was an accurate depiction of the human predicament. John was the ideal character for Miller to illustrate the human condition. Miller chose to characterize John with certain aspects that are parallel to that of a classic tragic hero. Although John does not perfectly adhere to the six stages of a classic tragedy, Miller creates a journey from guilt and self-pity to salvation. John Proctor is introduced to the audience as a man ridden with shame and denial due to being unfaithful to his wife. Abigail: I have seen you looking up, burning in your loneliness.
Do you tell me you never looked up Proctor: I may have looked up. ” (peg. 18). The audience is then shown the relationship between John and his wife, Elizabeth. Miller illustrates an extremely uncomfortable relationship between John and Elizabeth. ‘You forget nothing’ and forgive nothing’. Learn charity, woman cannot speak but I am doubted, every undocumented for lies, as though I come into a court when I come into this house! ” (p. 45). It becomes apparent that John struggles o be accepted and forgiven by Elizabeth, even when she disappoints him. “(holding back a full condemnation of her): It is a fault – you’re the mistress here” (peg. 3). Miller emphasized the discomfort in John and Elizabethan relationship by using caesura, as well as structuring the sentences quite short. ‘ ‘There is a pause A sense of their separation arises. ” (peg. 42) The uneasiness of their relationship was needed in order to provide the audience with a basis, so that the transformation of their relationship, and subsequently the end of John’s tragic journey could be seen. John, it come to naught that should forgive you, if you’ll not forgive yourself. (Now she turns away a little, in great agony) It is not my soul, John, it is yours. ” (peg. 09). Through Elizabeth, the notion that John was seeking absolution not only from his wife but also from himself is solidified. Only after Elizabeth speaks to John, does he have an misdiagnosis which later allows him to have cathartic moment. “(with a cry of his whole soul): Because it is my name! ” (peg. 115) Because am not worth the dust on the feet of them that hang! How may live without my name? Eave given you my soul; leave me my name! ” (peg. 1 15). Through John’s cathartic moment, the audience is shown the strength of John’s character, and also vicariously relieved by his conquest.
John had embarked on an “encounter of man with more than man”, and in the end he found his own meaning. In contrast to the sympathies evoked by the character of John, Miller creates a character in that is completely incomprehensible to any audience. The antagonist of the play, Abigail Williams, is crucial to the play for many reasons. Abigail is the catalyst that initiates the witch trials in Salem. The audience establishes absolutely no connection with Abigail due to her actions being ruthless and to a certain extent psychotic. (smashes her across the face): Shut it! Now shut it! ” (peg. 15). Abigail is depicted as a cruel and vindictive liar, who accuses innocent people of witchcraft solely due to the fact that John Proctor no longer wishes to be with her. “You did, you did! You drank a charm to kill John Proctors wife! You drank a charm to kill Goody Proctor! ” (peg. 15). While it is likely that female components Of the audience could possibly identify with Abigail sadness room her unrequited love, Miller distances the audience from Abigail by making her name synonymous with evil.
Although Abigail was the main accuser behind the witch trials, she also forced the adolescents of Salem to keep the truth hidden. “Now look you. All of you. We danced. And mark this. Let either of you breathe a word, or the edge of a word about the other things, and will come to you in the black of some terrible night” (peg. 15). Miller solidifies the incomprehensibleness of Abigail character by making her the root of evil within the play. Abigail perfectly adheres to ” Heaven has no age like love to hatred turned / nor hell a fury like a woman scorned. Even though some women could identify with her sentiment, Miller made it impossible for the audience to sympathize with Abigail. The playwright chose to disengage the audience from Abigail in order to convey his underlining satirical depiction Of McCarthy. Miller viewed the condemning Of innocent people for ones own benefit and unforgivable, careless act; which is why he chose to sever any sympathy the audience would feel for Abigail and McCarthy. Abigail was also a crucial component in making John Proctors athirst a necessity.
Throughout the play, almost every word uttered from Abigail was a lie that tortured that audience that knew the truth all along. “l never called him! Tuba, Tuba… ” (peg. 35). With Abigail first allegation, she shows no remorse at all. Even when Tuba is under fire by questions and allegations by Hale and Paris, Abigail does not confess her lies. In fact, she manipulates everyone into believing her by reiterating her first accusation with a story. “Sometimes I wake and find myself standing in the open doorway and not a stitch on my body! I always hear her laughing in my sleep. Ear her singing her Barbados songs and tempting me with-” (peg. 36). With each accusation the anguish felt within the audience is exacerbated. Abigail unscrupulousness and lack of remorse climaxes at the same time the audience’s agony reaches the tipping point. “It may well be that Mary Warren has been conquered by Satan, who sends her here to distract our sacred purpose. If so her neck Will break for it. But if she speaks true, I bid you drop now your guile and confess your pretence, for a quick confession will go easier with you” (peg. 82). Abigail reply of “l have naught to change, sir. She lies. (peg. 83) simply torments the reader and evokes sympathy for Mary Warren. By this point, Abigail has become such a chronic liar, that she cannot bring herself to tell the truth even when she knows the consequences will be minimal. Abigail lies develop throughout the play, but as a character, Abigail is flat. The audience is deeply distressed by Abigail actions, and tormented when Abigail escapes Salem with no punishment. The suffering inflicted upon the audience by Abigail was not resolved by a catharsis from Abigail, which add John’s cathartic moment a necessity in order to relieve the distress.
In conclusion, the playwright created one character the audience sympathized with in order to illustrate one viewpoint of the human condition. However, it was also necessary for the playwright to undermine any sympathy towards one character in order to create a social criticism of McCarthy. Although the two categories seem fairly incongruous, it highly possible that Miller chose to illustrate a scenario that depicted the effects of an injustice (McCarthy) on the human condition.