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The Crucible Play Argumentative Essay

One of the lies told in the play is that Abigail was not responsible for killing Proctor or using witchcraft to bring about illness on Betty.  The other lie evident in The Crucible is that there was witchcraft in the village of Salem. Essentially, in projecting a feigned fear of Mary’s falsified witchcraft, Abigail exclaims “Oh Mary, don’t come down” (Miller 224). According to Miller, while everyone talked about the possibility of the existence of a witch in the village, there was no valid or substantial evidence to back up such claims. Abigail also seemed to be lying when she denied being involved in killing Proctor’s wife or witnessing what happened to Betty who was then sick and bedridden. When John tries to assert the source of Betty’s sickness, Abigail again lies by flippantly declaring that Betty has “only gone silly somehow” (Miller 21). This is considered a lie because nobody came up with a convincing piece of evidence to substantiate the rumors being spread around in Salem like wild fire. It was Reverend Parris and his wife who believed that the cause of their child Betty’s illness was witchcraft and hence spreading the lie farther. However, they never found out who exactly had used the magic on their daughter.

Another lie that is evident in the play is that of claims of innocence by some of the characters, such as Herrick who claims innocence before the court while he may have been responsible for bewitching others. There were also lies about the cause of death and sickness in Salem with some attributing them to natural causes while others claiming unnatural causes. These were lies that were based merely on religious convictions and fears rather than substantive proof.

In the play, there is also a lie about the magnitude of the problems facing the people of Salem.  In the court when people were being tried, Danforth and Giles were concerned about the issues that the people of Salem are going through such as sickness that according to them seemed mysterious and out of the ordinary. Danforth later discovers that the evidences brought forth by Mary, like many of Salem residents, were manufactured. He patronizes Mary by alluding to her sitting in the court-room “callously lying, when you knew that people would hang by your evidence?” (Miller 101). The members of the Salem community who had been brought to trial before the court also told lies with regards to the cause of the strange illnesses that afflicted many members of the society. Moreover, Putnam also lied about his belief in the community and its values though some members of Salem did not think so. Additionally, there are lies about spirits being sent to haunt people in the village of Salem and even to influence the cause of justice.  For instance, in the court, Proctor and Parris tell the judge the girls who testified “are frauds” (Miller 87). In a way, these two characters merely wanted to use their lives and positions in the society to influence the decision of the judge. Their contention about the being fraudulent was not proved using evidence even though they kept saying that they had proof to substantiate their claims.

Parris is one character in the play that comes out as being honest. On Abigail’s actions in the night, Mr. Parris honestly determines that “they were conjuring spirits last night” (Miller 16). He honestly believed in the existence of witches lurking around in Salem and never stopped or refrained even once from telling people about this. Though it turned out to be a lie, his was an honest lie since it was his religious background that informed his fears about witchcraft being practiced in the village.  His lies are also reasonable, and o justified on various grounds.  It may be argued that Parris told a lie about his daughter’s sickness out of an honest belief or conviction that with this, someone would confess to having caused Betty’s illness. He was convinced that Abigail or someone very close to him knew what had happened to Betty but they were not ready to tell the truth.

Further, I consider Parris to be honest due to his religious beliefs and background.  These circumstances might have made him to tell lies even before the court about the existence of witches and fraudsters in Salem who were responsible for the various woes that faced the village.  Moreover, the lies by Parris are reasonable since they are based on religious intuitions and beliefs, and therefore, he may not be vindicated for holding an honest lie. His faith is manifested in statements such as “there is either obedience or the church will burn like hell is burning” (Miller 30).  In addition to this, he may have been compelled by the situation in which he found himself and family, that is, Betty’s sickness, to tell a lie about there being those who meant to harm others by invoking the spirits of the dead. According to him, this practice of people using magic to cause others to suffer was morally wrong before God and hence deserved to be punished.

However, somebody else might consider Parris’ lies to have no justification or reasonableness at all for various reasons. Firstly, he did not provide any proof or evidence to back up his claims. Therefore, the lies by Parris are self-serving statements that were meant to create fear among people in Salem. Moreover, his dishonesty may be deemed to be void of reason because Parris himself did not seem to believe in the allegations about certain people being responsible for causing suffering and sickness in the village.

Work CitedMiller, Arthur. The Crucible.  Heinemann Education Publishers

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