POWER OF FALSE PERCEPTION
The Crucible is a play by Arthur Miller, set in Salem during the springs of 1692. The story is about false accusations, adultery, and forgiving. The story is a representation of real-life events that took place in the 1600s when there was a false accusation of witchcraft. The story represents instances of false perception and the power it has on other characters in the play and also the audience watching play. The way information is perceived, has a significant influence on the people, there are several examples discussed in this essay.
In Act one, Betty is lying on her bed because of sickness, her father, who is a reverend kneels in prayer at the bed. The unnatural cause of Betty’s illness is not known, this has led to rumors of witchcraft spreading. According to this act, some characters in the play perceive the witchcraft as the cause of illness in Salem. The fear of unusual occurrence makes villagers start accusing other residents of casting spells and performing witchcraft. This false allegations later leads to the death of some characters such as John Proctor, and Rebecca Nurse, for carrying out acts of witchcraft.
Tituba is perceived to be an outcast and bad omen to the village since she has minimal dignity in being a slave. Rev. Parris forces Tituba to leave the room where Betty lies because of his false perception of her. Betty’s father sees her slave as the main reason for his daughter’s sickness because she was with them in the forest. He saw Tituba screeching and gibberish, and he believes this is the causes of his daughter illness. The false allegations by different characters on Tituba lead to her condemnation to death.
Rebecca Nurse, who is a prominent, respected older woman I Salem drawn into witchcraft trials because of the differences between her husband and Putnam. Because of Mrs. Ann Putnam jealousy on Rebecca, she accuses her of the death of her seven infant children because Nurse was the midwife. The judges proved Nurse guilty when Ann pointed out that none of Ann’s children had died. This false condemnation resulted in her death.
The residents of Salem have a false perception of Sarah Good, and she was among the first people to be accused of witchcraft. Good was a miserable old pregnant beggar who would go door to door asking for assistance. These behaviors made her a target for the accusation to eliminate her from society. She became an easy target since she was homeless and unstable and also one of the society’s bottom rungs. Abigail accuses her of witchcraft, which Sarah later confesses to as real to save her life.
Another instance of false perception witnessed in the play is where some characters think by executing the accused witches they will be able to preserve Salem morality. Instead, the people who have good morals are the ones convicted, the likes of Rebecca. These are the people who refused to lie about involvement in witchcraft or throw false accusation to others and so they face death. This leads to the population remaining with selfish, cowards, and power-hungry individuals. The actions that were supposed to save the town rips it apart into chaos and paranoia (Act 4, 121)
Some of the characters in the play perceive supernatural forces bring those situations that are difficult to explain. Ann Putnam blames the supernatural forces for the death of her infant children. She takes a step further to accuse other villagers of using the psychic powers to kill her infant children, and this includes her midwife. Even before Abigail making accusations, rumors had already begun that there were witches in the village and they may be the cause of Betty’s illness. Rev. Hale also believes that the disease must have supernatural causes because of his failure to find its medicine. These are the people who make other villagers run into conclusion that there is witchcraft in their community hence leading to false allegations with outcomes of death.
In people perception, the church is a place where condemnation any unaccepted behavior is done, and therefore, the church leaders are respected since they are considered righteous. This perception makes Parris do everything to maintain his reputation among villagers. Parris insists that there are no unnatural causes for her daughter’s illness because he fears he will lose peoples favor if his house receives an allegation of witchcraft. Parris needs full details of what happened in the woods from Abigail for the worries that his enemies will discredit him if they find out what happened in the forest. The Rev. quickly takes sides with the accusers when Abigail throws accusation, and he even threatens Tituba if she does not confess. These show that he had no governing system of morality, and his fights are for earning him a good reputation in the society.
John Proctor’s perception of a morally righteous person affects his decision to destroy the confession. This is because he has a good reputation within the village and he does not want to destroy it. Though a hypocrite, he is different from others because of his courage and intelligence to recognize the motives of people behind false accusations and prosecutions in Salem. He can tell that some of the accusers are just telling lies so that they can earn control over property and people. Moreover, Proctor knows that he has sinned against his wife, and she deserves a better man than him. He seeks to correct all the wrongs he has committed with his death and also prevent Rebecca from harm. He pleads with the court to take his soul but leave his name.
The essay has given instances of different perception in the play with their impacts. The way people perceive ideas and information has power over their minds and also that of others. The weak in the society tend to follow blindly those who have authority, regardless of them knowing the results will impact them negatively. In the play, different perception led to the persecution of innocent souls for the benefit of others, especially those regarded powerful in Salem.
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