Have you ever been accused of something you didn’t do and have been put on trial for it? Well, in the play “The Crucible” by Arthur Miller, many people were put on trial, and 20 were killed. The Crucible was based on a true story about the belief of witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts. And it all started with a lie from a group of girls. There were 3 big themes in the play: Religion, False accusations, and Witchcraft.
The first theme is Religion. In the story, the accusers based their accusations solely on religion.For instance, if you did not know the 10 Commandments then you would be accused of witchcraft. They often asked innocent people to recite the Commandments, just to make sure. When asked to recite the commandments you must recite them without hesitation and mistakes or you would be looked at as a suspect of witchcraft. “Theology sir, is a fortress, no crack in the fortress may be accounted small” (Hale-947). Here John Proctor missed one of the commandments and now he is looked at more carefully.
They also asked those who were already accused of witchcraft to recite them. Do you know your commandments Elizabeth? ” (Hale-946) He asked Elizabeth because she was already accused of witchcraft. They thought that what they were doing was ok because they said the bible said so. “I have no knowledge of it; the bible speaks of witches and I will not deny them” (Proctor-949). Proctor was getting questioned by Rev. Hale and he asked Proctor if he believed in witches, if he had said no, he would be suspicious of witchcraft, just as Elizabeth was. The second theme was false accusations.
The story was all about false accusations and lies. In Act I, Parris asked Abigail if she was conjuring spirits and she said “Not I sir, Tituba and Ruth” (Abigail-918). She falsely accused them when her intentions were to kill Goody Proctor by drinking the blood. Abigail was always finding new things to blame on Elizabeth. “Goody Proctor always kept poppet’s” (Abigail-968). Abby said this because she claimed she was stabbed in the stomach with a needle, and accusing Elizabeth of doing this with her poppet’s that she does not have.In court they would often do outlandish things to make the person look as if they were performing witchcraft.
“Oh, Mary, this is black magic art to change your shape. No I cannot, I cannot stop my mouth, it is God’s work I do” (Abigail-975). Abby was making it seem as if Mary Warren was doing magic and sending out her spirit in the court to get her. The final and biggest theme in the story was witchcraft. In their time practicing witchcraft was a death sentence, and taken very seriously. After Mary was accused, she had to do something to take the heat off of her. To Proctor] “You are the Devils man” (Mary W-976).
Mary indicated that that Proctor had a compact with the Devil, he is a witch and he made her sign Lucifer’s black book. The officials also watched what you said to let them know you are a witch. “You heard that sir! Ripped out of the world! Hennrick, you heard it! ”(Cheever-952) He was referring to what Elizabeth said, so now she is officially accused of witchcraft. They often tried to get those who confessed to tell on others. “Did you ever see anyone with the Devil? ”(Danforth-991).Danforth was trying to get Proctor to confess on him and others who they thought practiced witchcraft. So in conclusion, the play “The Crucible” which was based on a true story, where many people was accused of doing things they didn’t do, and they were killed for it.
So imagine if someone you love were killed because of something they didn’t do, and you couldn’t do anything to save their lives but plead with the people who were killing them. Well for more than 20 people and their families in Salem, Massachusetts, this was their reality.
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