The Crucible was a revolutionary play which clearly depicted the Salem Witch Trials and what went on in the lives of the individuals in Salem. Some of these people were convicted of being a witch, some were not, and some were somehow connected to those being convicted. Despite the fact that everyone played some part in the Witch Trials, there are three key people who are mostly responsible for the mayhem. Overall, the three people that was most responsible for these trials would be Abigail Williams, John Proctor, and Deputy-Governor Danforth. The play erupted near the beginning with many people getting ill and the accusations of people being witches beginning. Though many may not see this, I personally view Abigail Williams being the one mainly at fault.
She is responsible for the young girls getting together with Tit uba to conjure up spirits. To put her further at fault, though not quite so much as being a witch, she had an affair with the respected citizen John Proctor. This affair however causes her to make many brash decisions which condemn many people. She feels that Proctor loves her and wants to be with her, but can't do so because of Elizabeth, so Abigail plots to get rid of Elizabeth in an attempt to get Proctor to marry her so she can fulfill her crazy hallucinations. When she talks to Proctor, she tries to make him see that his wife is an evil woman. "That jab your wife gave me's not healed yet, y'know...
I think sometimes she pricks it open again while I sleep" (Pg. 49). She constantly lies, but to cover up the biggest act of defiance, her adultery with John Proctor, she accuses many other of being witches. The young girls all go with her plans because she threatens them if they do not help her foolish ambitions.
Mary Warren gets accused of being a witch because she did not agree with Abigail and what she was doing. Abigail works her way up through the people of the town, accusing those who are sure to be convicted first before moving up to her target Elizabeth. Cunning minds can easily deceive others, which is what she tries to do to John Proctor. "I know you, John- You are this moment singing secret Hallelujahs that your wife will hang" (Pg.
51)! She sends many people to their death but continues. The plan that she instituted failed when she ended up getting John Proctor himself convicted. Abigail Williams flees Salem after Proctor is sentenced. Despite Abigail's huge role in the Salem Witch Trials, John Proctor is a person who is clearly not innocent. Proctor himself is a smart man who can sometimes just make stupid decisions. He could have easily charged Abigail with fraud at a part in the play, but decides not to.
John had an affair with Abigail when Elizabeth was ill which started Abigail on a wild fantasy. She strategically eliminated people to work her way up to Elizabeth to get her out of the way. Proctor always feels guilty about sleeping with Abigail and he is one who will never forgive himself. He feels it is his fault that the Witch Trials are occurring and that God is angry with him for being unfaithful. Despite the fact that he is ruined, he still revealed the sin which his had committed.
This was probably the worst choice he could have made as it made him look even guiltier in the eyes of the people. Proctor does say that Abigail wants to replace his wife. "She thinks to dance with me on my wife's grave" (Pg. 69).
He eventually allows the court to nail his false confessions to the church door which ruins him even more and guarantees his death. By doing this however, he does free himself of his guilt. At the end of the play, he is hung on the gallows. Although many people were accused of being witches, some may have been saved if not for Deputy-Governor Danforth. Danforth seemed to be a normal man who exaggerated everything. He often made things sound much worse than they actually were, and he was driven to get people convicted of witchcraft.
The worst part that accelerated the trials was that he was very gullible and easily persuaded. "What are you! You are combined with Anti-Christ, are you not? I have seen your power, mister, you will not deny it" (Pg. 74)! He believed that there was indeed witches in Salem and the girls would help find the one who was ailing them. Most of the other people could see that the girls were clearly pretending, but Danforth would not hear it.
He continued questioning the girls and more and more people kept getting convicted. He also seemed to be looking forward to the hangings as he would not allow for a postponement of the executions. Danforth may not have started the beginning of the Salem Witch Trials, but as shown in this play, he certainly accelerated them and signed for the deaths of innocent people. Most people look at their life and find it to be a normal life.
In the town of Salem, these people were probably thinking the same thing until the witch stories came up. For many, it was death just waiting to happen as people got convicted one person after another. From Abigail Williams to John Proctor, many people were somehow involved in the trials whether it is someone pretending to be haunted by Satan himself, someone being convicted, or a loved one of those being sent to their death. Salem was important in American history and will never be forgotten. The Witch Trials resulted in the deaths of many, and soon after people realized that they were not being terrorized by witches but by overactive and destructive imaginations.