The Crucible: Final Project
Arthur Miller believes that the idea of tragedy is often misinterpreted. Many people believe that in a tragedy a person in the play must die unexpectedly for the person that they love. He sees that In “The Crucible” his intention was not to rewrite the history of the Salem Witch Trials but to create characters to show how people were falsely accused and have been hung as a result. He also shows characters who are very courageous. Within his quote he implies that tragedy is thinking about the worst that could possibly happen and he compares it to comedy. To prove this Arthur Miller creates two similar characters who would be judged by the audience based upon their actions. These two characters are John Proctor and Giles Corey. John Proctor does not want his reputation to be ruined and is ultimately hung. Giles Corey does not want to accuse innocent people for something that they do not do and is therefore stoned to death.
In “The Crucible”, Arthur Miller portrays John Proctor as a tragic hero. John Proctor feels very guilty about his affair with Abigail. “Abby, you’ll put it out of mind. I’ll not be comin’ for you more”(22). Clearly John Proctor does not want to continue his relationship with Abigail anymore however to Abigail believes that the affair was a commitment. His situation constantly held Proctor back from accusing other people of a sin when he has committed one as well. Unfortunately, John Proctor had to confess to having an affair with Abigail so that Abigail’s lies would come to an end. Miller is more optimistic about John Proctors fate because he portrays Proctor as a man with a lot of pride. As a whole, we may think that many human beings are considered “weak” when it comes to their individual reputations. “I have three children – how may I teach them to walk like men in the world, and I sold my friends?”(143). John Proctor wrote his confession down in front of the court but he did not want the confession to be posted outside the church in front of everyone as it would destroy his reputation and himself as well as his family would have to live in shame for the rest of their lives.
In “The Crucible”, Arthur Miller portrays Giles Corey as a tragic hero. Giles Corey was falsely accused of witchcraft. “The proof is there! I have it from an honest man who heard Putnam say it! The day his daughter cried out on Jacobs, he said she’d given him a fair gift of land”(96). Giles wants to prove that Thomas Putnam told his daughter to lie in order to gain more land for himself. Giles Corey knows that Thomas Putnam is taking advantage of all the accusations that are happening in Salem however when he is asked about witchcraft and who else is associated with it he does not want to confess. “I will not give you no name. I mentioned my wife’s name once and I’ll burn in hell long enough for that. I stand mute”(97). Even after being tortured he does not confess and is eventually pressed to death by stone. Miller is optimistic about Giles Corey’s fate because he portrays Giles as a man with a lot of dignity and courageous. As humans we may think that other people could only seek their own advantage despite the fact that it could hurt someone else whom they may not intend to hurt as Giles Corey was eventually pressed to death because Thomas Putnam forced his daughter to lie in court. Ultimately Thomas Putnam was in an advantageous position.
As you can see Arthur Miller intention was to show that not every play is a tragedy because people die. Some people died to show their courage and to show that they will not admitted to something that they did not do or frame others for believing in things that are not considered proper. John Proctor gave up his life in order to save his reputation and he wanted to stop all the accusations are happening in Salem at the current time. Giles Corey gave up his life as he did not want to falsely accuse the innocent. This shows how Arthur Miller is optimistic about the fates of John Proctor and Giles Corey.