In Arthur Miller?s ?The Crucible? the pride of the people of Salem leads to a massacre of innocent lives that leaves many feeling guilty. Pride is a sense of one?s own dignity or value, your own self-respect and guilt is a feeling of responsibility or remorse for something that you did wrong. ?The Crucible? is set in Salem, a puritan village, in the late 1600s.
Beginning in act one, the conflict is set as Parris first becomes involved in the impending hysteria. Parris cannot believe that witchcraft had taken place in his house. ?Let me know what you done. Abigail, do you understand that I have many enemies.? (Pg 10). Knowing that the townspeople will ruin his reputation, Parris desperately tries to point his guilt in other directions. He believes that every comment towards the case is a mark against the court and God. His concern is directly related to his niece, Abigail Williams, who happens to be the alleged witch. ?Parris: You will confess yourself or I will take you out and whip you to your death, Tituba! Putnam: This woman must be hanged! She must be taken and hanged! Tituba: No, no, don?t hang Tituba! I tell him I don?t desire to work for him, sir.? (Pg 42). As the truth begins to emerge; Abigail denies her involvement in the witchcraft and passes the blame to their helpless servant, Tituba who confesses after being threatened for a brutal beating.
John Proctor, an honest and admirable man, plays one of the characters. He is in his mid thirties, married to Elizabeth Proctor and has three children. He thinks very highly of himself and thinks he is better than all the rest. He always says what he thinks is best, "I may speak my heart, I think" (pg 2) constantly taking on other people's ideas and opinions. Proctor had guilt for giving up his friends but also had the pride that made him give up his life. He has pride in his beliefs of purifying the Church of England. His wife, Elizabeth, has pride in her ability to use the trials as an ultimate revenge against Abigail Williams. Elizabeth Proctor has pride in trying to trick her husband turn in Abigail as a fraud. Goody Proctor thinks Abigail wants her dead so she can have John all to herself. John wants to wait and think through it all. ?I have good reason to think before I charge fraud on Abigail, and I will think on it.? (Pg. 52). This makes Elizabeth secretly angry but she has pride that she might be able to punish Abigail for hurting her and her family. Not that this is an unjustifiable pride, but Elizabeth picks on John to do her dirty work to the point where John says, ?You will not judge me more, Elizabeth?.let you look sometimes for the goodness in me, and judge me not.? (Pg. 52). The act of the accusation proves to Elizabeth the affair is over. Elizabeth has a strong sense of pride in that she is the only one safe in the issue because she has done nothing wrong, who would accuse her for anything? But Elizabeth?s immunity to the trials causes her to get taken to court for owning a poppet, which in fact, is owned by her servant, Mary Warren.
John Procter is a strong man, who thrives at the chance to be right and known. But by the end of the play he questions himself and wonders who he is anymore. ?You have made your magic now, for now I do think some shred of goodness in John Proctor. Not enough to weave a banner but white enough to keep it from such dogs.? (Pg 133). The trials to John Proctor are a time of change. When Reverend Hale enters the town John goes home in disgust, he has information no one else knows. He knows that the girls are frauds because Mary Warren confessed it to him. John?s pride springs from his feeling of being smarter than the rest of the town. He was constantly found bickering with Reverend Parris about unnecessary expenses. He is worried to speak at the trials for he would condemn himself as a lecher. His wife has her finger on his button though because after the affair, she uses his guilt so he might promise to accuse Abigail. As soon as John steps