The Themes of Greed and Envy in the Crucible

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During the 1690’s the town of Salem, Massachusetts was stricken by the the idea of having witches living in that area, which caused many people to be prosecuted and tried for being involved in witchcraft. Arthur Miller wrote the real life accounts that happened during this time calling the play the The Crucible. The Crucible shows many aspects of the Puritan society during this time which involves greed, envy, and the avoidance of responsibility. The people of Salem would lie in order to avoid responsibility of their actions and other people’s actions. One of the many people that did this was Abigail, since the beginning of the play she was lying about what happened in the forest but ‘forgets’ to tell Putnam major events that happened during that time.

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This shows that Abigail would rather lie then get into trouble; to avoid responsibility of her actions. If Abigail were to tell the truth of what happened in the forest that night then she risked the chance of getting killed. She also only confirms what Putnam saw, never letting on more than she intends to reveal. Abigail is not the only person in Salem that tries to avoid responsibility; the girls that were in the forest with her during that time also do this. They blame others for witchcraft, to distract the people from the fact that they were practicing witchcraft: The girls do this because they know that once they start to blame others for witchcraft, the people of Salem will start to focus on those people. They are elaborate with their plans and catch on quickly to what the other one is doing. This is a great mechanism to avoid responsibility of their actions.

Not only do the people of Salem try to avoid responsibility but they are also envious of others. A person that shows envy is Elizabeth because she is envious of Abigail because she was younger than her. Abigail was also able to attract proctor to have an affair with her, instead of staying loyal to Elizabeth: It is recognizable by the tone, that Elizabeth knows of the affair that happened between them and that she dislikes the idea of Proctor and Abigail together. With this knowledge she still continues to stir the pot and mention the affair whenever. She does this when Hale asks Proctor if he knows all the sins, “Adultery, John.” Which Proctor ironically forgets the sin about adultery.

Abigail also showed envy and throughout the play she tries to blame Elizabeth for witchcraft. She even tried killing her so that she would be able to gain back relations with Proctor. She tries to lure him in but is unsuccessful with it: This shows how Abigail despises the idea of Proctor and Elizabeth together and doesn’t think that Elizabeth is deserving of Proctor. She tries to gain control of the situation by trying to make Elizabeth seem like a bad person but Proctor doesn’t like that, which goes to show that Abigail is envious of the relationship that Proctor and Elizabeth have. Abigail’s jealousy of Elizabeth Proctor has led her to attempted murder, first by the charm in the woods and later in the play by accusing Elizabeth of witchcraft.

Greed was also an important themes in The Crucible. There were many greedy people during this time that tried to gain something out of Salem Witch Trials. One of the citizens that tried to get something out of the trials was Putnam: Parris kept asking for more and more things which shows that he was greedy and tried to gain more for himself. This also shows that Parris priorities weren’t in check and that he was more interested in the perks than preaching. All of things depict

Parris wasn’t the only one who tried to gain something but so did Putnam. He used the excuse of the trials to gain more for himself: This is evidence that shows that people tried to gain more for themselves, even if it mean that it hurt other people in the process. Putnam is a strong example of greed because even though he already had land, he tried to get more. The witch trials was the perfect distraction for him being able to do this because the townspeople were more focused on witches of the town. Although The Crucible shows themes/ideas like witchcraft and paranoia throughout the town of Salem, there are also other themes. These themes include greed, envy, and the avoidance of responsibility which are major characteristics that are depicted through the characters. Based on the real life accounts of the Salem witch trials, the play is a great example of these themes.

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The Themes of Greed and Envy in The Crucible. (2022, Jul 02). Retrieved November 26, 2022 , from

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