"The Crucible" is filled with ironies. List/discuss the ironies in the text of The Crucible."The Crucible" dramatizes brilliantly the dilemma of an innocent man who must confess...

"The Crucible" is filled with ironies. List/discuss the ironies in the text of The Crucible.

"The Crucible" dramatizes brilliantly the dilemma of an innocent man who must confess falsely if he wants to live and who finally gains the courage to insist on his innocence -- and hang. To increase the impact of his final choice.

Expert Answers
mrs-campbell eNotes educator| Certified Educator
  • All of the accused faced the following irony: if you confess to being a witch, you live.  If you don't, you die.  That seems backwards; if you are a witch, shouldn't you die, and if not, live? 
  • In order to prove his wife's innocence in court John Proctor had to confess his sin of adultery. That sin would be expected to fall under the arena of his own salvation, not that of his wife's, but to discredit Abigail, he must reveal their sin together. 
  • Elizabeth's lie covering up that adultery is also ironic, because John swears that she "cannot lie".  But then she does (understandably).
  • All Abby wants is to be with John, and it is her actions that in the end lead to his death.
  • Cheever, who Elizabeth prompted John to talk to, because they were friends, ends up being the one who arrests her.
  • Goody Putnam, who openly confessed to enlising Tituba to "conjure spirits" receives no trial, no arrest, no accusation of witchcraft, but walks free.

Those are a few other ironies in the play to ponder.  I hope they help!