In "The Crucible", how is the relationship between man and women portrayed?

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pmiranda2857 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There is evidence in this play that suggests that women hold greater power and influence over men.  But there is also evidence that supports women being much stronger, more moral and ethical. For example Abigail Williams is at the heart of the whole witchcraft hysteria.  It is on her say so that the judges drag innocent people into court and then when she accuses them, they are simply put in prison to await execution if they do not confess to being a witch. 

Another example of women being superior to men in this play would be Rebecca Nurse, who is accused by Mrs. Putnam for putting some kind of spell on her seven infants, thereby causing their deaths, but she is sentenced by a man, the judge, who cannot or won't see that Mrs. Nurse is a model Puritan woman with a reputation for her wisdom, kindness and faith that transcends Salem.

Martha Corey, who happens to be smarter than her husband, Giles, ends up getting dragged off to jail for witchcraft because her husband is too stupid to understand that her book reading is not the reason that he cannot say his prayers.  Martha is superior to Giles.

Women, on the whole are smarter and for the most part more virtuous, except for Abigail, in this play.  Elizabeth Proctor, the long suffering wife of John Proctor, the adulterer who cheated on his wife with Abigail while she worked as a servant in their home, is wrongly accused of witchcraft because of Abigail's continued desire to possess Proctor.

As for the men, in addition to Proctor's adultery, Reverend Parris, a man of God, is more interested in material possessions and his own glory and reputation than actually doing the work of the Lord.  He is a phony, as is Thomas Putnam, whose chief goal in the play is to purchase as much property as he can from the accused.  He even goes so far as to have his daughter Ruth accuse George Jacobs, an old man, of witchcraft just so he can buy the land next to his.

The judges are full of self-righteous, self-appointed power with little or no regard for the truth.  They are more representative of evil and the working of the devil in Salem than any of the people who are executed.  They are cowards, who in the face of the truth, fold, and continue to murder innocent people because they are too afraid to admit that they were wrong in listening to Abigail Williams testimony, which, once she runs away, is learned to be false.

Women emerge as stronger and more moral than the men in this play.