What is the moral dilemma in The Crucible?How is god Misused?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I believe that there are many moral dilemmas in Miller's work.  One such quandry is under what circumstances is it permissible to lie or tell the truth.  The moral compulsion to be honest is something that would not cause a moral dilemma.  Yet, in Miller's depiction of Salem, where morality as well as other notions of the good have been thrown into chaos, it seems that telling the truth is a difficult element.  In this setting, inversion seems to be norm.  People who are supposed to represent righteousness and justice are using the system for their own benefit.  People who are supposed to be honest and forthcoming are actually duplicitous and deceptive.  Where religion and faith are supposed to be liberating, Miller shows them to be manipulated to actually be forces of imprisonment.  The actions taken in the name of God serve to represent the very essence of a miscarriage of justice and worship.  In such an environment where there is a sense of misdirection, being honest can be seen as a bad thing and can result in awful realities.  Elizabeth endures this, when she lies on the stand in the attempt to save her husband.  John struggles through this, when he refuses to falsely confess.  Once again, the idea of morality is turned on its head when following it can result in disastrous consequences.

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The Crucible

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