"During conflict the group is more important than the individual." Discuss in relation to The Crucible.
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This is a rather peculiar statement to relate to this tremendous play. If anything, the play seems to prove the complete opposite of this statement. Let us just remind ourselves of the scenario that we see depicted in the play. Salem is ripped apart by the activities of one group of girls, led by the manipulative Abigail. The accusations of witchcraft that they make results in innocent people being hanged because of unproved and baseless charges of witchery. In this time of conflict, the majority of the people of Salem side with this group, resulting in an escalation of the charges of witchcraft and the hanging of innocent members of Salem.
However, John Proctor shows the power of the individual in defying this group and going against them, trying to prove their accusations are based on lies and deceit. John Proctor seems to face the age old dilemma of when it is right to act as an individual and to stand up against what the rest of his society is doing. As such, John Proctor disproves the statement. He, through his death, is able to check the wave of recrimination and petty revenge that sweeps through Salem and helps end the witch hunt that claimed so many innocent lives. The play thus clearly indicates that in times of conflict, it is the individual that is more important, as the way in which the people of Salem side with the group only results in more death and violence.
Groups are much more likely to direct and resolve conflicts than individuals are. That doesn't mean the resolution is going to be positive or just, simply that it is more likely to be determined by the group at large. In Salem, once the hysteria started and the group began making judgements and carrying out sentences, there was little that Proctor or others could do to stop it. Even the Court itself, once it begins to realize this has all been a sham, cannot stop itself, lest it look foolish and ungodly.
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