The Crucible Questions and Answers
by Arthur Miller

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Discuss and explain the themes of weakness, jealously and manipulation in The Crucible

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In The Crucible, there are various themes. The theme of weakness is evident in that John Proctor experiences a moment of weakness and gives in to Abigail's seduction. John Proctor allowed a young girl to seduce him. He had been experiencing a cold shoulder at home. Elizabeth Proctor had been sick. Thus, she could not show John the closeness he needed. Therefore, John Proctor gave in to momentarily weakness. He jeopardized his marriage for the pleasure he could experience with the forbidden fruit named Abigail.

Elizabeth in her physically weakened condition was helpless in the matter. That is why she dismissed Abigail. She could not compete with the young seductress.

Then the theme of jealousy came into play. Elizabeth could not overcome the fact that John had betrayed her with someone like Abigail. She did not trust John thereafter. She suspected that he was still thinking about Abigail, even if he were not with her. 

John lied about being alone with Abigail in town. This created even more jealousy for Elizabeth. She struggled with the jealousy she felt throughout the play.

Manipulation is a theme. Abigail manipulates those she encounters:

Her accusations initially reveal a mischievous enjoyment in wielding power over other people's lives.

She manipulated the courts. She pretended to be vexed by Elizabeth Proctor's spirit. Abigail's play acting was in hopes of the courts deciding to hang Goody Proctor so she could have John Proctor. Abigail manipulated the young girls. She manipulated the courts. She manipulated John Proctor. All she did was evil. She was determined to have Elizabeth Proctor hanged. Then John Proctor would be hers alone. 

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