Power and Authority in the Crucible
In Arthur Miller’s captivating play, The Crucible, the Salem Witch Trials were examined during 1693 and 1694. Through this play, we can see how powerless people have become powerful. This essay will be describing the trasition from powerless to powerful or the other way around, based off of the Salem Witch Trials. Empowerment plays a crucial role in the development of a powerful person. The audience realizes that the role of adversity has helped the powerless to become powerful. In this play there were many people who were initially powerless such as; Abigail, Tituba, and all of the women and men accused. These people were at a disadvantage because of social stature. For example, Abigail was at a disadvantage because she was a servant. Tituba is African American and at this time they were looked down upon. In the play, Tituba is trying to tell Reverend Hale that she doesn’t have an influence over Abigails’ actions, and everything she is accusing her of is false. Hale completely dismisses everything that she says and ends his statement with, “You most certainly do, and you will free her from it now! When did you compact with the Devil?”. All of the accused were at a disadvantage because the accusers made them powerless. Despite of who they are or what their values are they were in they were vunerable to judgment. The term empowerment means the power or authority to do something.
In relation to the film, empowerment was a major factor to those who were superior and to those who were oppressed. The Proctors were in power at one point, then were stripped of their power. This happened when John and Abigail have an intimate relationship and Abigail falls in love. Her love and obsession for him can be shown in the middle of act one when she says,” And now you bid me tear the light out of my eyes? I will not, I cannot! You loved me, John Proctor, and whatever sin it is, you love me yet!”.She begs and begs for him to be with her, and she says that it’s Elizabeth’s fault that her life is falling apart. In act one on page 25 she says,” There be no blush about my name…[Elizabeth Proctor] hates me, uncle, she must, for I would not be her slave. It’s a bitter woman, a lying, cold, sniveling woman, and I will not work for such a woman!” . At this point Abigails hate for Elizabeth builds, which eventually turns into the accusation. Abigial feels that if she is accused (though she is not the one accusing her) then the town will turn against her and she will have John all to herself. Looking at another persepctive, the Reverends remain in power throughout the play.
They have a religious advantage that allows them to stay safe from the accusations. In other words, because they had a special connection with their religion, the townspeople didn’t see it possible for them to be conjuring with the devil. Power can change a person’s whole life perspective. In this play there is many ways power changed many people’s life. For example, Abigail went from being powerless to using the witch trials to become empowered. By using lies and deception to their advantage the accusers gained power, they had the ability to turn the table and punish people who they felt deserved it. If they were fessing up names the town believes that there is no way they could be taking part in the witch craft. However, there was many other situations where people were in power (the proctors) or were happy (the other people who were accused) and someone came in and switched everything around making them completely powerless. Being in power makes you feel in control, however you are not always driven by good intentions as explained in previous paragraphs. These bad intentions is what makes people, like Abigail, hurt others around them.
Furthermore, when people are stripped of their power it can lead them to desperation. The people who were completely out of power were those being accused, being a witch meant that you were the enemy of the town. If you were tried for being a witch, you were already automatically vulnerable it didn’t matter if you were found guilty or not. In act two Elizabeth proctor explains what happens to those found guilty of witch craft she says,” They’ll hang if they’ll not confess, John. The town’s gone wild, I think. She speaks of Abigail, and I thought she were a saint, to hear her. Abigail brings the other girls into the court, and where she walks the crowd will part like the sea for Israel. And folks are brought before them, and if they scream and howl and fall to the floor—the person’s clapped in the jail for bewitchin’ them”. John expresses that they are only confessing or fessing up names because that are scared of the consequences, not because the allogations are true. This is stated in act two line seventy,” nd why not, if they must hang for denyin’ it? There are them that will swear to anything before they’ll hang; have you never thought of that?”
In conclusion, power changes people and shows their true colors. Within this play you see people for who they are and what drives them; these drives can destroys other peoples lives. Power, adversity, and character are the main things that shaped people in this play and in everyday life. Some people take what is given to them and use it to make an positive impact, and other abuse it. Annotations