Revenge’s Evil Ways
Arthur Miller uses the theme of revenge many times in the play The Crucible. The hysteria in Salem in 1692 was escalated by the element of revenge. The role of revenge intensified the feelings of the Salem people. Abigail Williams was an example of someone out for revenge in 1692. The Putnams were another example of people setting out to settle vendettas of their own during the witch trials. Reverend Parris was another individual ready to settle is own feuds.
Abigail Williams was a greedy teenager in 1692. She was the person that started the hysteria in Salem in 1692. When things do not go her way, she did everything in her power to make them go her way. When John Proctor refused Abigail in Act I, she only waited eight days to accuse Elizabeth Proctor, John’s wife, of witchcraft. She wanted Elizabeth to die, so that she and John could dance on her grave. Abigail refused to believe that John loved only Elizabeth and not her. In Act I Abby said to John, “You loved me, John Proctor, and whatever sin it is, you love me yet!” She was unwilling to give up on him. In Act II Elizabeth realized that Abby is out for her head. Elizabeth said to John, “She wants me dead. I knew all week it would come to this!” Elizabeth also said, ” and thinks to kill me, the to take my place.” Elizabeth knew that Abigail wanted revenge on John, so she was going to kill Elizabeth. Abigail’s settling of scores
was placed on a permanent hold when she realized in the end of Act III that the town may turn against her. Abby heard of riots in Andover over witchcraft hysteria. When she heard this she took off with Mercy Lewis and her Uncle Parris’ money. Salem never heard from her or her revengeful ways again.
The Putnams of Salem had survived many troubles. They helped to promote the hysteria of 1692. Thomas Putnam wanted James Bayley to become the new minister in Salem instead of George Burroughs. James Bayley was Thomas Putnam’s wife’s brother-in-law. George Burroughs is elected the new Salem minister thanks in part to the Nurse family’s backing. Since the Nurse family wanted Burroughs to become the new minister, many other people in town also backed him. The Nurses’ were very well liked and well trusted in Salem. Ann Putnam, Thomas’ wife, disliked Rebecca Nurse because Rebecca had had many children and grandchildren. Ann had given birth to eight children, however all but one had died. When the witch hunt starts, the Putnam’s daughter, Ruth, was old enough to be included with all the other girls that cry out against the witches. Ruth claimed to the court that she had seen Rebecca with the devil. Furthermore, Rebecca later get tried and convicted of sending her spirit out and killing the Putnam babies. Ann wanted revenge on Rebecca, because Rebecca’s babies stayed alive and hers did not. Ann even said to Rebecca, “You think it is God’s work you should never lose a child, nor grandchild either, and I bury all but one? There are wheels within wheels in this village, and fires within fires!” The Putnams get there revenge on the Nurse family when Rebecca dies at the end of Act IV.
Reverend Parris was another revengeful man in Salem. He sought to get even with the people that despised him. He caused the hysteria to grow in Salem. Parris was always telling Deputy Governor Danforth about people that Danforth did not know. Parris tried to tell Danforth about Giles Corey, but Corey interrupted him saying that he was old enough to speak for himself. When Danforth asked John Proctor who he was, John told him who he was. Nevertheless, Parris put in his own two cents, and said, “Beware of this man, Your Excellency, this man is mischief.” Then Parris feeds on Danforth’s idea that everyone who comes into the court was trying to bring down the court system in Salem. Parris said about John Proctor, Francis Nurse and Giles Corey, “They’ve come to overthrow the court, sir!” Next, Parris tried to ruin Proctor in the eyes of Danforth by telling Danforth that, “such a Christian will not come to church but once a month,” referring to John. However, by the end of Act IV Parris realized that after the trials were over he would have nothing. Parris realized his mistakes and tried to correct them, but it was too late and the damage was done.
In conclusion, revenge destroyed the town of Salem. Friendships were ended and people were never heard from again. There were lessons to be learned from the people of Salem. People learned not to hurt each other in such a hurtful way. People became more tolerant. Abigail left Salem forever. She stole all of her uncle’s money, thirty-one pounds, and left him penniless. Abigail hurt many people in Salem. She destroyed families and left four children fatherless. The Putnams survived the tragedy of the Salem Witch Trials. Because of her revengeful ways, Ann put an innocent and kindhearted woman, Rebecca Nurse, to death. Reverend Parris incriminated many people because he
told things that had no bearing on whether or not they were witches. He made personal attacks on people’s characters. Revenge hurt and helped many people in Salem, but mainly revenge hurt everyone. Revengeful ways and people destroyed the town of Salem. Revenge made the hysteria of 1692 grow to gigantic proportions.