A Major Theme of The Crucible
The theme of the story was rising over adversity, and standing for the truth even to the death. The Crucible explores the depths of honor and truth. John sacrifices his own life in order to die with goodness. He would rather die by his own honesty than live by a lie.
In the beginning of the story, John wanted to keep distant from the trials. He did not want to have a part, whether good or bad. When Elizabeth was arrested, he was forced to become part of it. He went to court first to set his wife free but after watching the proceedings, he saw that the evil was not only being done to his own wife but many others like his wife. As a result, he worked even harder to free the other innocent people, getting himself arrested. Despite this drawback, he did not give up. He had the chance to free himself if he testified against the others but he realized that this would be wrong, and even though he wanted to free himself, he would not if it meant bringing trouble upon others. He cleansed himself at the trial, standing for what he knew was right and died a righteous person. Though he stayed away from church, he became more pure than the common Puritans, dying as a martyr like the original apostles. He learned what truth meant through his suffering.
Through John Proctor s struggle Elizabeth, Hale and Parris were deeply affected. As John struggles to achieve righteousness, Elizabeth and John s relationship begins to grow and mature. He continually grows more pure in Elizabeth s sight until she is able to forgive him. She forgives him for his affair and tells him that he can do as he will. When Hale pleads with her to ask Proctor to confess and save his life she responds by saying, He has his goodness now. God forbid I take it from him! Hale was also deeply affected by the trial. His view changes by the end of the book but it was too late for him to save the innocent lives. The guilt of innocent lives being hanged was too much for him. There was too much blood on his hands because of the trial. Hale switches from blind adherence to authority to independent judgment about the trial. As the story progressed he began to argue against authority in order to save innocent lives in oppose to his one hundred percent loyalty to authority he had in the beginning.
Reverend Parris and Hale became terrified because of the rumors of riot in Salem. Parris even had a dagger stuck to his door putting his life at risk. Now that Parris s life was at risk he finally attempted to save the innocent lives from being hanged. This man of weak moral caliber was even more publicized as a coward to the reader because of this. Ultimately, Proctor s decision to be hanged was not a victory for Parris but the symbol of the complete defeat of him as a man and minister.
Miller displays the struggles within each of our own hearts through John Proctor s struggle. Many times we have witnessed some wrong happening to some other person and wished not to get involved. However, sometimes, like Proctor, there might be something that forces us in. Would we be quit after only saving our wife like Proctor could have done, or would we go for the entire community as Proctor did?
The story reminds its readers of an ugly blemish on human history. It reminds us that man is not perfect, and that we can make mistakes. However, even with these mistakes, we can cleanse ourselves and purify ourselves by making what is wrong right. The sufferings become to the sufferer like a crucible.