Moral conflict in The Crucible.
By Charlotte B.
Arthur Miller’s play, The Crucible, is a great portrayal of humans and their struggles. This
play takes place in the 1690’s in Salem, a small Puritan community based on a rigid social
system, where an outbreak of rumors claiming witchcraft contaminated the small village. The
witch hysteria was initiated by a group of young girls (headed by Abigail Williams,) who were
afraid of being accused of swaying from the strict regulations. This caused conflict among the
people of the community and ultimately resulted in absolute chaos. I am going to write about
three of the main characters, Reverend Hale, John Proctor and Mary Warren, who have some of
the most intense internal and external struggles in the play.
Reverend Hale’s battle is initiated by his personal commitment to God. In Act I, the
Reverend is described as an eager-eyed intellectual pondering the invisible world. Hale seeks
witches and gets them to confess, so god can bless them and rid them of the devil. An example of
this is when he said to Betty, “In nomine Domini Sabaoth sui filiique ite ad infernos,” which
means: In the name of the lord of hosts and his son
Furthermore, Mary Warren was a young girl evidently stricken with terror and inner conflict. Mary succumbs to Abigail"tms "hypnosis " and accuses John Proctor of forcing her to lie. " Mary decides to speak out against Abigail and the others for their false accusations and said that she " tried to kill me many times". So, this shows that all of these pivotal characters had a good deal of influence in the way the play turned out individually, but more importantly, their individual actions affected the others"tm actions, both creating and enhancing the obvious moral conflicts in The Crucible. This is also a subconscious retaliation to the abuse from John in previous acts "Pay, pray, hurt me not Mr Proctor. "I cannot mount the gibbet like a saint. Hale tries to gain a perspective on those accused, by going to their houses and putting questions to them, about their nature and religious behavior. She replaced her former friend Abigail Williams, who was fired by Elizabeth Proctor, for committing adultery with her husband, John. John believed that he could have redemption for all his sinful acts in life by dying for his principles. The actions of Mary Warren, causing John Proctor to hang, affect Hale"tms life dramatically, making him question all that he has held dear (himself, the fairness of the judicial system and his religion. The ludicrous accusations and finally the arrest of John Proctor, are key factors in changing Hale"tms opinions of the Salem witch trials and question the sincerity and power of Judge Danforth. Not only were these characters pivotal in their individual roles, but together, their lives are intertwined, so conspiring to the final outcome of the play. All of these characters, as I have previously stated, had their own inner moral conflict. In conclusion, Arthur Miller"tms play was one that was based on several pivotal characters, such as those of Mary Warren, John Proctor, and Reverend Hale. However as the play develops, Hale witnesses sincere and respectable townspeople being sentenced and hanged.