Power is something everybody wants to get; some will use it for good and some will use it for their own means. When a person who abuses power gets it they will step over, steal, and even kill to get what they want. When someone gets power when they were previously powerless they will abuse that power, in The Crucible by Arthur Miller previously powerless individuals get power and use it for their own desires.
Abigail Williams, opportunistic and persuasive, with her lust for John Proctor putting the entire town at risk displays when someone with power doesn’t get what they want people will pay. Abigail with her sly and cunning nature creates a plan for getting her out of trouble for dancing in the woods and conjuring spirits. Her plan is to blame a lot of people for being witches,”I want to open myself…I want the light of God, I want the sweet love of Jesus, I danced with the Devil;I saw him, I saw him I wrote in his book, I go back to Jesus. I kiss his hand. I saw Sarah Good with the devil I saw Goody Osburn with the devil I saw Bridget Bishop with the devil”(Miller 595) Abigail is being manipulative by feeding the flames of the fear of witchery to distract townsfolk. She is also not taking responsibility for her dancing and letting people die for it. Abigail gains a lot of power in this situation and she already starting to abuse it. Realizing the power that she has, she uses it to get John Proctor all to herself. Abigail is at the peak of her power in Act III where Judge Danforth is seeing if Abigail is telling the truth. When Judge Danforth questions Abigail of her honorability she openly threatens him in the courtroom,”Let you beware Mr.Danforth think you be so mighty that the power if hell not turn your wits? Beware of it”(Miller 646) Abigail takes control of the court by standing up to the arguably most powerful character in the play. At this moment, Abigail overpowers Danforth and continues to abuse power to keep her charade going. Abigail’s abuse of power led to the events of the witch trials leaving many men and women dead. She takes no responsibility because if her reach towards power to finally be able to be with John Proctor.
Mary Warren tries to assert her power over others but her sheeplyness and spinelessness keeps her from getting on top exhibit that you need a strong personality to be successful. Mary Warren tries so hard to make herself feel important but she falls just short of that,”I must tell you sir,I will be gone every day now.I am amazed you do not see what weighty work we do”(Miller 668) Mary is trying to assert herself over Proctor and she is abandoning her responsibilities in Proctor’s household. But Proctor shuts her down almost immediately by telling her to go to bed signify Mary is a teenager who is trying to be independent but is still a kid. Mary was close getting respect in court when exposing Abigail for her lies,however Abigail turns the tables on Mary. To save herself Mary turns on Proctor ,”My name, he want my name. ‘I’ll murder you,’ he says, ‘if my wife hangs! We must go and overthrow the court,’ he says!”(Miller 672) Mary is a follower trying to be a leader who doesn’t have the chutzpah to take the reigns. Also her turning on Proctor shows the audience she is also too weak and naive to have power. Mary Warren tries to be greater than what she is made out to be but her indecisiveness and just being a kid keeps her from being anything more than a maid.
John Proctor is the exception to this idea that power corrupts a person’s morals. When John is given the choice to sell out his friends or to keep his honor portray that a man with strong morals can beat the corruption that come with power. At the end of the play John Proctor is the most powerful character in the play with major authority figures like Danforth and Hale begging him to sign the paper to lie about being a witch. At first he contemplates on which decision to make later he makes his decision loud and clear,”Because it is my name! Because I cannot have another in my life! Because I lie and sign myself to lies! Because I am not worth the dust on the feet of them that hang! How may I live without my name? I have given you my soul; leave me my name!”(Miller 677) John stands up to Hale and Danforth and makes the decision on what he thinks what a man would rightfully do. John has finally forgiven himself and will not save himself after so many have fallen. Soon after Danforth refuses to take the paper and John does the right thing,”Proctor tears up the paper and crumples it”(Miller 677) John sacrifices his life for the good of the town and making sure his hanging is the last. John beats the man with his ripping of the paper and creates his own choice and new identity of individualism. Once a lowly farmer rose up and became powerful by following to his own morals and standing up for himself.
Power corrupts it turns innocent people to evil beings but it takes a good man to beat that. For instance, Senator Mccarthy while his intentions good the power corrupted him and he started to claim everyone who wasn’t in the groupthink was a communist. Then there’s men like George Washington who used his power to beat a more powerful opponent and create the free world. It takes a good man to make the world a better but those men are willing to stand up to their adversaries.
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