Topic: Family, Life & ExperiencesMarriage

Last updated: February 15, 2019

“When you hold a grudge, you want someone else’s sorrow to reflect your level of hurt but the two rarely meet” (Steve Maraboli). Grudges and rivalries have been around since the beginning of time. Having these flaws in one’s life can have a major impact on one’s self and the people around them, just as Arthur Miller portrayed through his play, The Crucible. By looking at the rivalries, jealousy, and lack of trust within the people of Salem, it becomes clear that grudges and personal rivalries play a major role in the witch trial hysteria.
There were many different rivalries that exacerbated the witch trial hysteria in Salem. For example, when Abigail Williams found out about Elizabeth (Goody) Proctor spreading “lies” about her she said this: “I will not have is said my name is soiled! Goody Proctor is a gossiping liar!” (Miller 172). In this quote, Abigail is replying to Reverend Samuel Parris about Elizabeth Proctor’s reason for firing Abigail from being her maid. Elizabeth fired Abigail because she believed her husband, John Proctor, was having an affair with Abigail. Turns out Elizabeth was right, but Abigail was still in complete denial. Another example of a rivalry is when John Proctor and Thomas Putnam got in a heated argument about land ownership.
PUTNAM. That tract is in my bounds, it’s my bounds, Mr. Proctor!
PROCTOR. I bought that tract from Goody Nurse’s husband five months ago (Miller 181).
In this quote, Mr. Putnam sees John Proctor’s wood that he was taking home and asks where he got it from. John tells him where he got it from and Thomas states that he got the wood from his land. This argument starts a major rivalry between the two, and it continues until the end of the play.
The Crucible portrayed many different examples of jealousy. One of them being from Abigail Williams to John Proctor: “She is a cold, sniveling woman, and you bend to her! Let her turn you like a—” (Miller 193) Though Abigail pretends she’s angry at Elizabeth Proctor for damaging her reputation, the more powerful emotion is jealousy of Elizabeth for her marriage to John Proctor. Here she criticizes Elizabeth and her personality in order to cause doubt in John’s mind. Another example of jealousy in The Crucible was when Elizabeth Proctor called out Abigail while arguing with John. “She’d dare not call out such a farmer’s wife but there be monstrous profit in it. She thinks to take my place, John” (Miller 56). Elizabeth tells Proctor that she knows what is going on between him and Abigail. She is tired of acting like John’s most loved one. “There be a thousand names; why does she call mine?”(Miller 56). Elizabeth points out that Abigail’s behavior is motivated by jealousy and the possible benefit she might gain if Elizabeth is hanged. Between the people of Salem, there was little to no trust when it came to witchcraft.
The Crucible is stained red with lack of trust. For example, John Proctor asks Reverend Hale: “There are them that will swear to anything before they’ll hang; have you never thought of that?” (Miller 200). In this statement, John questions Hale about if the girls are just confessing to avoid the consequences, which is in this case, they will be hanged. On the contrary, Hale has a hard time believing that someone would confess to something they did not do. He’s either a complete fool or he’s lying to himself. Also, Abigail threatens the girls if they confess that she will kill whoever confesses. “And mark this. Let either of you breathe a word, or the edge of a word, about the other things, and I will come to you in the black of some terrible night and I will bring a pointy reckoning that will shudder you” (Miller 30). Abigail doesn’t trust any of the girls, especially Mary Warren. Abigail uses this technique because she knows that the girls are scared of her.
Without the grudges and personal rivalries between the people of Salem, the witchcraft hysteria would’ve never went farther than the girls getting whipped according to Mary Warren. Also, the Bible states that grudges and personal rivalries were around since the beginning of time starting with the story of Cain and Abel. Miller did a great job of blending grudges and personal rivalries into the witch trials hysteria and making them seem natural in this situation. The Crucible portrayed many examples of jealousy, rivalries, and lack of trust in a variety of ways that played a major role throughout this play. Even today, the impact of grudges and personal rivalries on people can shape your destiny.


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