The Crucible by Arther Miller is a play, first viewed in 1954, about the Salemn Witch Trials. The play takes place in Salemn Massachusetts, which was then a strict Puritan town. This play is not only about the ruined lives and deaths of hundreds of people, but even more so about the selfish greed, apathy, and revenge of people in this small town. These are the main characters of the play. Several of the characters came to many crossroads in their lives and were forced to make some very important decisions. Marry Warren, Reverend Hale, and John Proctor all face big decisions that can change more than their own lives.
Marry Warren, under a lot of stress and confusion, had to make hard decisions about herself and accusations involving her closest friends. At the beginning of the play Marry Warren and her friends Abbigal Williams and Betty Parris secretly go into the woods with the Parriss slave Tittuba. While in the forest the girls are dancing and playing while Tittuba sings songs for them. They are all having a fun time but are then caught by Reverend Parris. Terrified of the trouble they are in and not responsible enough to except their punishment the girls blame Tittuba. They accuse Tittuba of using witchcraft on them. While all of this commotion is going on Marry is confused and scared. While talking to Abby she considers just telling the truth, arguing back and forth Marry says that I never done non of it, Abby. I only looked. Then Abby reminds Marry of the things that will happen to all of them if the confess. This is hard decision for Marry to make, but she decides to go along with Abby. Later, in act two of the play, John Proctor finds out that Marry Warren and the girls were only dancing in the woods and insist that Marry tell the court the truth. Marry is petrified and lost in confusion. Proctor screams at her to confess the truth, but she keeps saying that (She) cannot, they will turn on me. Marry is afraid that her friends will accuse her of being a witch like they have easily done to so many others. This is the braking point for Marry, an opportunity to decide for good or evil. She wants to cleans her self of sins and tell proctor she will confess in court. At court Marry begins her confession but it is hard. She doesnt seem confident enough to accuse her best friends of fraud, but she goes on. As she continues she is constantly badgered and breaks down. Abby and Betty, in the middle of testimony, start screaming and saying that the devil is in Marry. Marry panics and claims that she is not touched by the devil but Proctor is, shouting, Youre the devils man!. These are all very hard decisions and consequences to face. Unfortunately Marry cannot fallow through with the truth. While Marry struggles with her troubles many others face their own.
Reverend Hale is nearing forty, a tight-skinned, eager-eyed intellectual, and has already been involved with the mysteries of witchcraft. Even still he is baffled by the events and accusation in Salemn and is faced to question the beliefs of others and himself. As he conducts his business in Salemn trying to solve who is behind witchcraft he begins to think that some of the accused are innocent. He also begins to question these accusations of the girls. The girls accuse Elizabeth Proctor, who has never lied once, of witchcraft. Hale realizes that this cant be true and believes John Proctor in saying the same, but he is still not sure. In a conversation between the two men Hale tells proctor that I cannot judge her guilty or innocent- I know not. Only this consider: the world goes mad, and it profit nothing you should lay the cause to the vengeance of a little girl.. Here you can start to see Hale begin to sway in his beliefs but is still caught up in confusion. Later in the play Proctor is sentenced to hang for witchcraft and Hale know knows that Proctor is innocent. Hale fights for Proctors life and feels that all of these things happening to Proctor are his fault. Hale pleads to Johns wife I come of my own, Goody Proctor. I would save your husbands life, for if he is taken I count myself his murder. Do you understand me?, hoping to have her tell Proctor to confess so that John will not hang. It is hard for Hale to doubt and question himself which is what makes his decisions so difficult. As he fights and pleads for Proctor, John faces problems and dangerous decisions of his own.
In the small town of Salemn accusations and events spontaneously erupt moving with increasing momentum as they continue, leaving John behind with only quick glimpses of his changing life and little time to decide what he must do. Long before the witch trials began, while his wife was sick, John and Abbigal had encountered each other. This was all in the past and forgotten to him, but when Abby brings it back up he clears it up by saying No, no Abby- thats done with. John wants his mistake to just be forgotten. Although later on, as you know, Johns wife Elizabeth is accused of witchcraft by Abby. Its obvious to John that this is all done out of Abbys jealousy, but it doesnt matter. There is a warrant for Elizabeth and she is taken away. John screams My wife will not die for me! and he wants to save his wife and would do any thing for her. He decides that he must confess what had happened between him and Abby. He realizes that he will be persecuted for what he has done but his wife is more important than his own life. This is not a hard for John to make this decision but it is hard to face the consequences. John goes to court to confess and save his wife but everything falls apart. His confession is proven false and Marry Warren accuses him of being with the devil. At this point John is only looking for a way to clean his soul. He knows that if he falsely confesses of witchcraft then he will be let free, but if he did that he would ruin his name. His name is the only thing he cannot change in his life and will not lie and ruin it. John feels that he is now only doing what is right and says I do think I see some shred of goodness in John Proctor. Not enough to weave a banner with, but white enough to keep it from such dogs. He is saying that he would rather give his life than ruin his name for something that isnt true. This would have to be the hardest bravest decision in a persons life. To face this in the eye and continue walking toward it takes amazing courage. But is something he feels he must do, and is now at peace with himself.
These characters all go through pivotal transitions as their lives spin in greedy haste around them. These are all examples of complex decisions facing what truth is and what is true to ones self, and what a person must do to keep that. This is along with what Arthur Miller is telling us about decisions. That we must do what we think is right and face whatever hardship that comes with it, and if not then we must be willing to suffer the consequences. These characters all faced harsh decisions, and even though we think that they did or did not chose the right path, the trauma they suffer in these hardships must be respected.