Explain the concept of denial in Arthur Miller's The Crucible.

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To examine the concept of denial in The Crucible, once could look at a few characters and their situations.

Abigail Williams is in denial about the truth of her relationship with John Proctor. He is a married man who succumbed to lust and had a brief affair with an inexperienced teenager. He loves his wife and family and intends to rebuild his marriage because he knows that what he did was a horrendous mistake. Abigail is unable to see that in John's eyes, the relationship they had was primarily sexual and without a future. She refuses to recognize that he is a man who will not throw away his domestic situation over a mistake: having sex with her.

John Proctor also suffers, for a time, from denial. Although his wife correctly informs him that Abigail Williams is an ongoing threat to their marriage and her very life, John refuses to recognize the truth in what Elizabeth observes. John believes that since the affair is over in his mind, it must be over in Abigail's, as well, though she gives him plenty of signals that she intends to continue her pursuit of him. It is only in Act III that John opens his eyes to the truth of Abigail's desperation to have him.

Reverend Samuel Parris is also in denial for a great portion of the play. Although it is clear that his slave, niece, and daughter are dabbling in witchcraft, he believes that he can handle the situation and emerge with his life and career intact. Inviting Reverend John Hale to Salem may seem to him a career-enhancing move that shows him to be an effective spiritual leader, but it ends up backfiring as the trials gain momentum and the remnants of his congregation turn against him.

Reverend John Hale also spends a portion of the play in denial. He is caught up in his own reputation as a witch hunter and comes into Salem overeager to show off his skills. Though there are many indications to the contrary, he clings to his belief in the presence of witches in Salem until Act III.

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The concept of denial in Arthur Miller's play The Crucible is crucial to the hysteria which breaks out in Salem. Many of the characters deny something at one point or another in the play.

Abigail Williams denies many different things throughout the play. In the beginning, she denies having anything to do with Betty's "illness." When questioned about her being put out of the Proctor house, she denies any wrongdoing (even though she was fired by Elizabeth Proctor for having an affair with John Proctor). Later, Abigail denies being apart of witchcraft only to resend her denial when it seems to benefit her.

John Proctor, while coming clean to Elizabeth, initially denies the admittance of the affair publicly. He knows that it will blacken his name.

Elizabeth Proctor denies, in court, that he husband was a lecher. Unfortunately, John had already told the court the truth and her denial only ends up causing more problems for her husband.

Many of the citizens accused of witchcraft deny the accusations. It is not until they are threatened with their lives that they admit, falsely, that they are witches.

The courts also are in denial. They fail to consider the fact that the whole town has been played for fools. The courts deny any relevant evidence, putting all their trust in spectral evidence (which later is thrown out because an accusation is made against Hale's wife).

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