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Examples of Hypocrisy in The Crucible

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Words: 808 |

Pages: 2|

5 min read

Published: Jun 13, 2024

Words: 808|Pages: 2|5 min read

Published: Jun 13, 2024

Table of contents

  1. The Hypocrisy of Reverend Parris
  2. The Hypocrisy of the Court
  3. The Hypocrisy of the Proctors
  4. Conclusion
  5. Bibliography

Arthur Miller's play, The Crucible, is a powerful examination of the hypocrisy that can be found within society. Set in the 17th century during the Salem witch trials, the play explores the damaging effects of false accusations and the manipulation of power. Throughout the play, Miller highlights numerous instances of hypocrisy among the characters, revealing the destructive nature of such behavior. This essay will delve into some of the key examples of hypocrisy in The Crucible, highlighting their significance and the broader implications they hold.

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The Hypocrisy of Reverend Parris

One of the most prominent examples of hypocrisy in The Crucible is embodied by Reverend Parris. At the beginning of the play, Parris is depicted as a deeply religious man, constantly preaching about the importance of moral integrity. However, his actions contradict his words. Parris is more concerned with his reputation and maintaining his position of power within the community than with the spiritual well-being of his congregation.

An example of Parris's hypocrisy can be seen in his reaction to the accusations of witchcraft. When his niece, Abigail Williams, and daughter, Betty Parris, are found dancing in the woods, Parris is quick to deny any wrongdoing on their part. He fears that the revelation of their actions will tarnish his reputation and position in the community. Parris's hypocrisy is further highlighted when he refuses to acknowledge the truth of the accusations against innocent individuals, such as John Proctor and Rebecca Nurse, in an attempt to protect his own interests.

This hypocrisy is significant as it represents the corruption of power and the dangers of self-interest. Parris's actions not only lead to the destruction of innocent lives but also contribute to the overall hysteria and chaos of the witch trials. Miller uses Parris's character to demonstrate how hypocrisy can lead to the erosion of trust and the breakdown of a community.

The Hypocrisy of the Court

Another example of hypocrisy in The Crucible can be found within the court system. The court, which is supposed to uphold justice and fairness, becomes a breeding ground for hypocrisy and manipulation. Judges such as Danforth and Hathorne, who are meant to be unbiased and objective, succumb to their own prejudices and personal agendas.

One instance of this hypocrisy is evident in the court's treatment of Mary Warren. Mary, a servant in the Proctor household, initially confesses to lying about the existence of witchcraft. However, when she recants her confession and accuses John Proctor of forcing her to lie, the court immediately believes her. This double standard exposes the hypocrisy of the court, which selectively chooses to believe certain individuals depending on their own interests.

The court's hypocrisy is further exemplified in its treatment of the accused. Those who are unable to provide concrete evidence of their innocence are automatically deemed guilty, regardless of their actual guilt or innocence. This blatant disregard for justice and the manipulation of the court system contribute to the destructive consequences of the witch trials.

The Hypocrisy of the Proctors

While John and Elizabeth Proctor are portrayed as victims of the witch trials, they too exhibit instances of hypocrisy. John, in particular, struggles with his own moral integrity throughout the play. He is initially hesitant to expose the truth about Abigail's deceitful actions due to his own affair with her. This moral ambiguity and hypocrisy ultimately lead to the perpetuation of the hysteria and the suffering of innocent individuals.

Elizabeth, on the other hand, displays her own form of hypocrisy when she lies to protect her husband. Despite her strong religious beliefs and commitment to honesty, Elizabeth chooses to withhold the truth about John's affair, thus compromising her own integrity. This act of hypocrisy not only damages her relationship with John but also contributes to the overall breakdown of trust within the community.

The hypocrisy of the Proctors highlights the complex nature of human behavior and the moral dilemmas faced by individuals during times of crisis. Miller uses their characters to explore the gray areas between right and wrong and the consequences of moral compromise.

Conclusion

In Arthur Miller's The Crucible, hypocrisy is a prevalent theme that permeates the entire play. Through the characters of Reverend Parris, the court system, and the Proctors, Miller exposes the destructive consequences of hypocrisy within society. The hypocrisy of these characters not only leads to the destruction of innocent lives but also contributes to the erosion of trust and the breakdown of a community.

By shedding light on the hypocrisy within The Crucible, Miller encourages us to reflect on our own behavior and the potential repercussions of our actions. The play serves as a cautionary tale, reminding us of the importance of honesty, integrity, and the dangers of self-interest. In a world where hypocrisy continues to exist, The Crucible serves as a poignant reminder of the need for moral accountability and the consequences of turning a blind eye to the truth.

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Bibliography

Miller, Arthur. The Crucible. Penguin Classics, 2003.

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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

Examples of Hypocrisy in The Crucible. (2024, Jun 13). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 23, 2024, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/examples-of-hypocrisy-in-the-crucible/
“Examples of Hypocrisy in The Crucible.” GradesFixer, 13 Jun. 2024, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/examples-of-hypocrisy-in-the-crucible/
Examples of Hypocrisy in The Crucible. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/examples-of-hypocrisy-in-the-crucible/> [Accessed 23 Jul. 2024].
Examples of Hypocrisy in The Crucible [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Jun 13 [cited 2024 Jul 23]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/examples-of-hypocrisy-in-the-crucible/
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