Literary Analysis, 4 pages (900 words)

Crucible literary analysis paper

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A single lie destroys a whole reputation for integrity. When we are young, we’re taught lying is bad, but that never stops us from doing it anyways. There are many problems in the town of Salem and lying is only one of them. Crisis reveals the difficulty of telling the truth and the need for truth. John Procter was a man of good nature but had made a mistake that had now come back to haunt him. Elizabeth knows Abigail told John the girls were faking it but she has a hard time convincing him to tell the court.

When John says, “ I am only wondering how I may prove what she told me, Elizabeth. If the girl’s a saint now, I think it is not easy to prove she’s fraud, and the town gone so silly. She told me in a room alone – I have no proof for it” (Miller 1065), it is obvious he doesn’t think the court will believe him. But the court needed to know Abigail and the girls faked it so they could stop condemning innocent people. John also realizes the only way the court will truly see Abigail is lying is if he confesses to adultery.

However, he still manages to convince himself that he does not need to confess and it will be solved without that. When Proctor comes to realize he cannot put it off anymore he says to the court, “ I have made a bell of my honor! I have rung the doom of my good name – you will believe me. Mr. Danforth! My wife is innocent, except she knew a whore when she saw one! ”(1098). It was very hard for him to tell the truth but now the court knows Abigail is not an honest girl. Later Proctor comes to face the truth that the only way he can end all the nonsense is to tell a lie.

But this lie will be harder to tell then any truth. John confesses to witchcraft when Danforth asks him “ Mr. Proctor, have you seen the Devil in your life? ” and John replies, “ I did” (1115). John Proctor did have to lie but he saved his family and many other innocent lives which was why this was the only lie needed. Abigail had an affair with John Proctor seven months ago, but she is still in love with him. When the girls are caught out in the woods by Reverend Parris Abigail claims they were only dancing.

She says to her uncle, “ We did dance, uncle, and when you leaped out of the bush so suddenly, Betty was frightened and then she fainted. And there’s the whole of it” (1039). She says this to cover up that the girls were in fact trafficking with spirits because they would be hanged for practicing witchcraft. Parris believes that Betty has been bewitched so naturally he blames Abigail because she was with Betty that night, and he accuses her, “ Then you were conjuring sprits last night. ” (1042). Reverend Parris is then dumbfounded when Abigail says to him, “ Not I, sir – Tituba and Ruth” (1042).

Abigail blames it on Tituba because she doesn’t want to be hanged and she doesn’t want anyone to know she drank blood to kill Elizabeth. When the girls are in court and John confesses to having an affair with Abigail the court is appalled, and Abigail shouts, “ Mr. Danforth, his is lying! ” (1098). Abigail lies because she does not want her name blackened with adultery. One of the most holy women in the town of Salem is Elizabeth Proctor. Elizabeth has never lied once in her life but when she is asked to admit that her husband has an affair she lies.

She speaks to the court and says, “ My husband – is a goodly man, sir” (1099). The court needed this truth so they could prove Abigail is guilty. Elizabeth only lied to save her husband’s name. While Proctor is in jail he is visited by Elizabeth who admits that she did not love her husband like she should have. She weeps and pours out her heart to him, then says, “ John, I counted myself so plain, so poorly made, no honest love could come to me! Suspicion kissed you when I did; I never knew how I should say my love. It were a cold house I kept! ” (1114).

The importance of this is to show that Elizabeth has now not only forgiven John but forgiven herself as well. While John and Elizabeth are still together he asks her if she thinks he should confess. Elizabeth does not know what to say but she manages to help him when she says, “ Do as you will, do as you will! ” (1114). Elizabeth shows great difficulty in helping her husband because she does not know what to do, but it is very important because John makes the decision for himself. Nearly everyone lies in the town of Salem and it does nothing but get them into more trouble.

John, Abigail, and Elizabeth all lie for different reasons. John lies to protect his family as best he can. Abigail lies to keep her name white. Elizabeth lies or refrains from telling the truth in order to save her husband and let him make his own decisions. As Mr. Hale says, “ Take courage, you must give us all their names” (1060), we know telling the truth is never easy, and it takes a great deal of courage to say it after you have been lying, but it has always been the right thing to do and it always will be.

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