Examples Of Selfishness In The Crucible

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Pages: 5

Alone, Naked, and Afraid

English poet William Cowper once said, “glory, built on selfish principles, is shame and guilt”, describing how one’s position is only truly glorious if built upon acts of selflessness, as opposed to self-preservation. Similarly, Arthur Miller’s play, The Crucible, describes a conflicted town named Salem and the issues that emerge. Reverend Parris represents the town of Salem, and believes he is adored by his neighbors. He continually uses his strengths and power gained through selfish acts to remain a firm leader. Judge Danforth is brought to sort the town’s accusations of witchcraft, but instead uses his job to flourish his reputation. Individuals with selfish tendencies often use their charisma alongside challenging
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Through their efforts to instill fear into those who oppose them, both individuals work to promote their authoritative force and selfish personalities, demonstrating one significant human tendency–causing fear to show dominance. Parris uses his high position and physical appearance to scare the townspeople. When convincing Tituba confess, he intimidates her by saying ,“I will take you out and whip you to your death, Tituba!” (Act I, 44). Parris uses his control over innocent Tituba, in turn gaining control of a situation through the extraction of information, thus supporting his reputation. He threatens to “whip” Tituba, like one may do to animals, thus treating her as subhuman. Through “whipping” the innocent and inflicting harm, Parris contributes to the construction of his authority in Salem and his unwavering powerful position. Similarly, Judge Danforth uses his oppressive attitude to demand, and establish firm restriction in a way to boost his own sense of self. Instead of inflicting physical trauma, Danforth mocks …show more content…
Both men use their job as a power source, and when lost believe they will be hopeless. Parris’s motive of marinating his job, is shown as he defends himself, and his statements. When presenting his case to Danforth he mentions how “[he’s] sure of it sir. But the rumor here speaking rebellion in Andover, and it—“, later replying how “[he tells] you what is said here’ and how “[he tells] you the truth” (Act IV; 127). Parris uses his innocent tone to appeal to people and to make them listen to him. By repeating, he tells the truth that his fellow peers believe him. However, Parris feels like he needs to constantly repeat the truth, as his position as a reverend establishes the base founding of the truth. Moreover, Paris's repetition of the pronoun “I” demonstrates the heroic value of himself. He is unsure about his actions and his power as a reverend, but discontents allegations by inspiring himself. Thus, he is able to continue to hold power and exert his dominance. Although he considers his reputation with the town strong, his low self-esteem comes from the true emotion of the town. At the end of his first appeal he gets cut off, which