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The small village of Salem, Massachusetts featured in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible is a supremely religious community. The citizens from Salem would consider themselves loyal servants to The Lord. Although, many citizens feature a faithful noble personality, some characters reveal a hypocritical side throughout the play. Some being Abigail Williams and Reverend Parris, which are two important characters featured in The Crucible.
During the play, Miller shows that morals do not match up for Parris and Abigail. Assuming that Abigail Williams is a good Christian girl through the fact that she lives with her uncle who is the minister of Salem, we learn the opposite throughout the play. She shows little devotion to The Lord and her surroundings. On page 12, Abigail directs the following quote towards Goody Proctor; “It’s a bitter woman, a lying, cold sniveling woman, and I will not work for such a woman. ” Because of this evidence, it can be interpreted that Abigail Williams is used to having the upper hand, and she is unsure of what precautions to take when she does not receive her way. She also claims to not have practiced the act of witchcraft. “But they’re speakin’ of witchcraft. But we never conjured spirits” (10. ) She tends to lie in hopes of saving her reputation and good-intended morals. When the incident in the woods was on the verge of being uncovered and having everything pinned on Abigail, she still managed to find a way out of the consequences. “We danced. And Tituba conjured Ruth Putnam’s dead sisters. And that is all” (20. ) Abigail once again is trying to cover up her indigent actions.
Generally speaking, Reverend Parris is considered a questionable man. As a church minster, it is expected to have superior morals. However, the situation is different with Parris. He demonstrates an extremely selfish behavior. The typical citizen of Salem receives sixty pounds as their salary. Parris expects to be paid the sixty pounds, plus an additional six pounds for firewood. “Man! Don’t a minister deserve a house to live in? (30. ) He also states “I am a graduate of Harvard College” (29. ) This just goes to show that Parris has a big ego, and he expects the citizens of Salem to idolize himself. As the play goes on, it’s realized that Reverend Parris is substantially concerned about his wealth and reputation. He preaches to be humble, yet all he wanted for his church was golden candle sticks. Francis Nurse provided pewter candlesticks, but they did not reach Parris’s expectations. On page 65, John Proctor states the following about Reverend Parris; “for twenty weeks he preach nothin’ but golden candlesticks until he had them. ” This once again shows that the people of Salem believe Parris is only focused on his reputation of wealth. In today’s day and age, it is rare to find an individual who is not hypocritical.
A common characteristic that turns individuals into hypocrites is pride. When not just being proud, but greedy and careless. This completely deprives the true meaning of pride, as did with Reverend Parris and Abigail Williams. Reverend Parris preached about selflessness, yet only cared about having the highest reputation and the best objects. As with Abigail Williams, she claims to “…want the light of God, want the sweet love of Jesus…” (146), although lies about practicing witchcraft. “…Saying you’re moral is not the same as acting morally…” – Alan Dershowitz. Morals tend to be insubstantial when people condemn one another for a specific reason, but then go and do the same thing. After reading Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, it is evident to recognize that having good morals and intentions will get you far in life. Unfortunately for Abigail Williams and Reverend Parris, things could have turned out for the better if they had not practiced such hypocritical acts. In fact, at the beginning of the play Abigail says “ My name is good in the village! I will not have it said my name is soiled” (12. ) If she would have followed good Christian morals, maybe her name could have stayed good throughout Salem. Because of these hypocritical actions performed by Parris and Abigail, their names may be tarnished for the years to come.
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