The Crucible Questions and Answers
by Arthur Miller

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What specific role does dishonesty play in The Crucible?

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Dishonesty is commonly understood to refer to deceitfulness in a person's character and is a central theme in the play. The entire plot revolves around acts of deceit, especially by the girls who first lie about their actions in the forest and then deliberately accuse others of witchcraft to save themselves. This deception is extended by many characters in the play who mislead the court to either get revenge or gain an advantage, and by others who want to protect themselves.

In Act 1, after Reverend Parris discovers the girls dancing in the woods, his daughter, Betty, falls into a faint from which she apparently cannot wake. One may conclude that her reaction is informed by the initial shock of being discovered, but her continued act is dishonest. Both Betty and Ruth Putnam fear punishment and put on a show to avoid retribution. Abigail, Reverend Parris's seventeen-year-old niece, lies about why they were dancing in the woods. She tells her uncle that "It were only sport," when they...

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