Treatment of Women Throughout the Crucible

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The portray of women is shown quite differently depending on who you are, who people think you are, and how they react to a male-dominated society, this division is shown quite clearly throughout the crucible. Women are portrayed in three different ways in the crucible. Some are shown as good, moral, upright people, while others are quite completely the opposite. Miller does this in order to show the balance between disparate people, which allows it to make the story more believable. There are three different types of women represented in the book with three different outcomes.

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Abigail is the clear antagonist in the play. She is a liar, a thief, and a manipulative person. Due to the grudges, she holds, and the complete lack of regard for the well being of others, in the end, she ends up sending 19 innocent people to their deaths. She proceeds to have an affair with John Proctor and she wants him all to herself, so she accuses Elizabeth Proctor (his wife) of witchcraft, in order to get what she wants despite the consequences that come with it. She even goes on to say “You loved me, John Proctor, and whatever sin it is, you love me yet!” (pg. 24) In the end, she does admit to lying but doesn’t regret any of it, because it all got in her way of getting what she wanted. Miller portrays her in such a manner, in order to show one part of the history of the witch trials, which allowed people with grudges or resentment to one to take it out in this way.On the other hand, Elizabeth Proctor can be seen as one of the most faithful women in the entirety of the play. Despite her husband, John Proctor, committing the offense of adultery by having an affair with their housekeeper, Abigal Williams, she still maintains to remain obedient to John. When she was asked if her husband had committed adultery, she lied. When Danforth said “To your own knowledge, has John Proctor ever committed the crime of lechery” (113) Elizabeth responded with, “No sir”(113). She had never lied prior to this incident, yet she lied to save her cheating husband. She is an extremely faithful woman who willingly took the fall for something she was not involved in, she did this because she believed she was the driving force of her husband committing adultery. “I have sins of my own to count. It needs a cold wife to prompt lechery”(137). Throughout the play, she is portrayed as a woman with strong moral character and a phenomenal wife, yet she believes she is the reason for a fault. Miller draws her this way in order to show that Elizabeth as a woman so “good” she ends up blinding herself and becomes annoyingly self-deprecating.

Rebecca Nurse could be seen as a mix between the two. She is seen as one of the only females characters throughout the play who has a sense of high integrity and a good moral character yet, she is not a native and doesn’t allow herself to be stepped on. When she is accused of witchcraft she does not confess or put the blame on anyone else, instead, she defends herself. When she is asked to confess, she says “Why it is a lie, it is a lie; how many may I damn myself? I can not, I cannot.”(140) This display shows us how genuine and strong as an individual she is, even though witchcraft was seen as a horrendous crime, she knew that she was innocent and would not lie in order to save herself or please those around her. Rebecca Nurse is easily one of the most likable characters in the entire play, she stands up for what she knows is right and defends her beliefs, and not even consider the fact to even stoop so low to accuse any more innocent people.

Miller portrays women in an extremely unique light. He tries to show various sides of the same gender, from both ends of the spectrum, ad the middle of it. Three different characters were shown with three very contrasting personalities, yet all had a powerful presence in the play and all had to endure consequences, even if it was or was not self-provoking. It’s safe to say that Miller tried to present this play without any prejudice while writing it. He made the antagonist of the play woman. Women despite a few not knowing they were powerful and complex creatures that make men do anything they wanted, good or bad.

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Treatment of Women Throughout The Crucible. (2019, Jun 24). Retrieved December 4, 2022 , from

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