Who had power at the beginning of the play "The Crucible"? What events and issues cause the power shifts in the course of the play?What is miller saying about power and authority?

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pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

At the beginning of the play, I would say that Parris has some power and Hale has a lot of power.  Parris is the preacher and Hale has been called in to look for witches.

By the end of the play, neither of these two has much power.  Power has moved to the court (and Danforth) but also to Abigail Williams and the girls who are doing all the accusing.

I think that Miller is saying that power tends to get abused and to corrupt people.  Abigail and others have started to use the trials to strike at their enemies.  Danforth has become corrupted and cares more about his own image than about justice.

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mkcapen1's profile pic

mkcapen1 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted on

I find this an interesting question because the power always belonging to the Puritians and the courts which consisted of the elders and magistrates during the time of "The Crucible."

The women that you are referring to are Elizabeth and Abigail.

Abigail is working for the Proctors.  She has an affair with John Procter.  His wife learns of his misbehavior from John.  She has the power as an employer to send the girl away and fire her.  She does this.

Abigail begins to lie about different people in the community.  She accuses them of engaging in witchcraft and of hurting her through their spells and actions.  She makes accusations against Elizabeth.  Many of the people in the town have gone crazy about the idea of the witches being present.  They believe Abigail.  She has gained the power over Elizabeth.

Tom Putnam and his wife were n a land war against a woman named Rebecca.  In order to get rid of her and solve their problems, when their child fell sick that accused that it happened because of Rebecca.  They filed an allegation against her.

I was the belief that the devil existed among the community.  Reverend Hale is bought in to determine if the devil is in Rebecca.  However, this becomes the opportunity that Abigail needed in order to begin her dangerous games of allegations.

Miller suggests through his lay that power can be abused.

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