Essay about Sins and Ambitions

Submitted By Salverde116
Words: 940
Pages: 4

Sins and Ambition The Salem witchcraft trials illuminate a great human campaign to rid society of the wicked devil and his sinful messengers. However nobly intended, these trials create an era of fear and hysteria, generating an outlet for the evil persons of Salem to raise their reputations at the expense of the good. In effect, it becomes apparent that the accusers do not possess a power to prove another of a "Satanic alliance", but rather branch their motivations from ambition, a theory probed by Arthur Miller's play The Crucible. Afraid of the severe penalties for secretly dancing in the forest and chanting spells, characters such as Tituba and Abigail Williams accuse others of witchcraft for their self-preservation. Capitalizing on this newly acquired power, Abby's self-preservation transforms into a strong desire to do harm unto others and quench her great lust for power. Moreover, other individuals such as Thomas Putnam endanger the lives of others simply to satisfy their insatiable greed and self-interest. As a result, the accusers in the witchcraft trials become the embodiment of sin, fed by their varied ambitions.

Ironically enough, because Salem's stern religious ethic controls all aspects of society and promotes safeguards against all immoralities and sins, the townspeople are somewhat provoked to test these prevailing social values. This becomes the case with a group of young girls lead by Abigail Williams and Tituba, who secretly dance "like heathen in the forest" (1 10) and "conjure up the dead spirits" (1 16), all tell-tale elements of witchery. Soon enough however, rumors spread and "the whole country's talkin' witchcraft", a definite "hangin' error" (1 19). Terrified, the girls entrap themselves in an atmosphere of hysteria and apprehension searching for the most painless means of ensuring their protection: shifting the blame onto someone else. Thus, in a climatic moment of confession led by Tituba, Abigail claims to "want to openŠ[herself]Š" and embrace "the sweet love of Jesus" as well as announce the names of those who "trafficked with the Devil" (1 50). Consequentially, by lying, the girls become perpetual sinners; nevertheless, are able to reflect the severe punishments of witchcraft from themselves and uphold their self-preservation.

Coincidentally, the girls' initial identities as the vulnerable pawns of the devil's grand scheme rapidly transform into those of famed yet feared celebrities among the people of Salem. Taking this reality to her advantage, the opportunistic Abigail is able to expose her true malignant character by intentionally attempting to destroy the lives of others to satisfy her corrupt conscience. One such an example is her plot against Elizabeth Proctor, the wife of her former lover, John Proctor. "She is blackening my name in the village! She is telling likes about me! She is a cold, sniveling womanŠ!" (1 24). Expressing her grievances that stem from jealousy and extreme hatred, Abigail substantiates her need for revenge. Thus, Abigail testifies to the court that it was Elizabeth's "familiar spiritŠthatŠstuckŠa needleŠtwo inches into the flesh of her [Abigail's] belly" (2 79). Because of the lack of any material evidence to disprove this claim, Elizabeth is automatically accused of witchcraft and taken away. Moreover, Abby's motivation for malevolence broadens even more to satisfy her growing hunger for control and authority and reassure herself of her above-the-law status. While in court, Abigail threatens, "Let you beware, Mr. Danforth. Think you to be so mighty that the power of Hell may not turn your wits? Beware of it!" (3 113) In this situation, Abigail declares herself as even a menace to a powerful and esteemed Judge, declaring her true prevailing authority even over a high-ranking official. Therefore, by developing and defining her true motivation for evil as