Truth and Justice
In the crucible it is clear that different characters have different understandings of the concept of truth and justice. In the following essay I am going to critically analyse the views held by these characters. Even though John is a man of integrity who holds himself to high moral standard there are times when he lapses occasionally, this is evident when we discover his affair with Abigail. despite the fact that he had terminated his liaison with her there is still a part in him that cares about her, we see this when he says,” I may have looked up”, referring to when he passes her house at night trying to catch a glimpse of her.
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The lines of truth and justice has been blurred for John, we see this when he is confused about whether or not to tell Hale about the truth of the witch trials. When he finally decides to, it is too late. When Elizabeth is arrested John tries to save her whilst to clear his guilty conscience. He brings Mary Warren to court to help him to expose Abigail. He then confesses to his affair with Abigail, in hope that the truth will set him free and in an effort to prove that she is lying. This all backfires when Elizabeth lies to protect him and Mary turns against him.
Though Elizabeth is John’s upright and virtuous wife, she has not completely forgiven John when it comes to his affair with Abigail. She still holds a grudge. But as the play progresses we realise that she doesn’t completely blame John for the affair, she admits that she herself is a cold and plain woman. Elizabeth never lies, but the one lie she told to protect her husband not only condemned him but also sealed his fate. The witch craft hysteria begins when Reverend Hale comes to Salem. He is considered a specialist in discerning witchcraft, even though his experience is derived mainly from books.
His questioning towards the girls is forceful, arrogant and suggestive which encourages the girls to start naming. He is caught up in the hysteria of the situation and is largely responsible for it. As the play progresses we realise that Hale is becoming tired and there is an air of guilt about him. From this point he becomes increasingly doubtful. He begins to see the real motivation behind the girls naming. He desperately tries to intervene. It is distinct that hale has lost hope in the justice system. Reverend Parris’ aims are materialistic. He is self –centered and power hungry.
He is a person of low morals, a coward and there is very little good to be said about him. From the pulpit his sermons are filled with damnation and aggression making him unpopular. This only fuels his persecution complex. He seizes the witch hunt as an opportunity to destroy his enemies and get even with those who he thinks have persecuted him. In the end he has lost everything; Abigail stole a large amount of his money and he was eventually voted out of office. It is clear that if the characters looked for truth and justice instead of revenge and lies, they fate would have not been sealed.