Crucible Is the Story of Research Proposal

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Hale begins the play as the most idealistic character, but ends the play telling Proctor to lie under oath and confess to being a witch, after Proctor is accused by Abigail. Hale comes to see the judicial system as bankrupt. This shows how a corrupt system can corrupt even decent people. The system also uses Hale's idealism for its own ends, as pro-democracy, pro-American people were used in subservience of McCarthyism. Just as dangerous as idealists like Hale are weak people, looking for a sense of belonging. Mary Warren, Proctor's new servant, enjoys the sense of community she feels with the other girls, and fears breaking from their ranks.

Even Elizabeth Proctor's goodness serves the evil of the system: Abigail accuses Elizabeth of witchcraft, in hopes of making John a widower. Then, to protect her husband's reputation, Elizabeth unwittingly condemns John by refusing to admit that he was unfaithful, just as John condemns himself by not going to church, because he feels like a hypocrite as an adulterer. This is taken to be 'proof' of his deviltry, not a genuine religious crisis. The system perpetuates itself as small inconsistent actions are made to seem like glaring lies and crimes.
When Mary admits that the girls are lying, the girls use this as evidence that Mary is under the power of witchcraft, not that her change of heart questions their truthfulness. There is no way to 'prove' the absence of witchcraft in such a world.

Like witchcraft, communism or left-wing sympathies within the heart cannot be quantified or clearly defined (unlike espionage, or physical acts against another human being which can). The demand to 'name names' was present in both the House Un-American Activities Committee as well as Salem. Certain aspects of Miller's analogy are problematic: in the real Salem, the young girls were not as politically savvy as the adolescent Abigail and real fears of the unknown in a pre-scientific America may have been just as much a factor in Salem's madness as conniving on the part of religious men. However, in demonstrating how a mob mentality functions, and how tautological thinking and fear can corrupt justice, Miller's play is still powerful to study in the context of Cold War America......

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