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Guilt in the Crucible


Guilt in the Crucible

Thesis Declaration: Function of regret in driving the plot of The Crucible

Table Of Contents

  • Introduction: Historic background of creating the play
  • Function of guilt in the initial dispute
  • How the characters blame others to avoid penalty
  • Guilt as a method for pressure in the court
  • Blood as the symbol of regret
  • Conclusion: The way guilt results in characters’ death
  • Work Cited

During the 1950’s, McCarthyism and the Red Scare controlled society and culture, instilling the terror and suspicions of an undetectable enemy on an uninformed individuals. This opponent was that of communism. Composed to alert society of the doom that lurked close by, Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, depicts the repercussions that originate from the hysteria related to accusations made against one’s next-door neighbor and in some cases friend. From the play, one can collect that guilt in society is damaging to communal relationships.

Role of guilt in the preliminary dispute

The proof that supports this truism is ingrained lot of times throughout the play and definitely reinforces the play’s central theme. Starting in act one, the dispute is set as Parris very first ends up being involved in the approaching hysteria. Parris can not believe that witchcraft had occurred “in [his] home”. Knowing that the townspeople “will fall” (16; act one) his reputation, Parris frantically attempts to point his guilt in other directions. His concern is directly related to his niece, Abigail Williams, who takes place to be the supposed witch.

How the characters blame others to prevent penalty

As the fact starts to emerge, Abigail denies her participation in the witchcraft and passes the blame to their helpless servant, Tituba. Act two additional strengthens the theme of regret by presenting John Proctor’s affair with their previous maid, Abigail. Elizabeth Proctor is definitely not the warmest character in the story, but she is certainly able to witness John turn from her during her condition. Elizabeth thinks that John” [is] rather ashamed,” (62; act two) for her presence during the affair was constantly nearby. When Hale comes to question John about Elizabeth, he questions their faith.

Guilt as a way for pressure in the court

Ironically, throughout a series of questions, John stops working to call all ten of the commandments. The commandment that slips his mind is that of adultery, which Elizabeth reminds him of. While offering a nervous and sly smile, John mentions that “in between the two people we do know them all,” (67; act two) wishing to much better his look to the potential jailers. Act three brings the story into the courtroom where the witches’ fates are determined. By now, the level of hysteria within the town has reached an unfathomable level as neighbor turns against neighbor in an effort to save beneficiary own life. When Mary Warren takes the stand, she guiltily confesses to perjury and declares that she is “with God” (102; act three). To further break down Mary Warren, Danforth mentions that the “Bible damn [s] all bearers of incorrect witness” (102; act three). After this quote is spoken, it is noted that there is a minor pause before he continues evaluation. The pause is planned to position terrific emphasis on the seriousness of his declaration which will in turn, increase the feeling of guilt. The best examples of regret are definitely found in act 4.

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Blood as the symbol of guilt

After John Proctor declares the affair between him and Abigail performed in fact happen, the rate at which social peace of mind rots is appalling. Even greedy Parris wants to “postpone [the] hangin’s for a time” (127; act 4). The guilt that is connected with persecuting his victims has actually now reached him and he pays for it with his conscience. Hale feels the exact same method as Parris when he states “There is blood on my head! Can you not see the blood on my head” (131; act four)! The blood of which he speaks is not literal.


The blood is a metaphorical term for that of regret. Simply as blood discolorations, regret will stain his conscience, which Hale frantically hopes will not happen. When Elizabeth and John see one another for the last time, John pleads for forgiveness to calm his discomfort arising from the affair. More depicting Elizabeth’s cold persona, she denies him the forgiveness he requests. Near completion, John Proctor wonders “who will penalize [him],” (138; act four) for his uncertainty and guilt are excellent. In the end, his response is found within death.

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