The Crucible is a play written by Arthur Miller. The plot is set in Salem, Massachusetts 169s in a time of confusion and violence. Accusations of witchery are being spread, causing the town to erupt in shock and quick actions. Instead of looking into each accusation in detail and believing in the method that you are innocent until proven guilty, the court made quick decisions. From these actions, the court therefore took many innocent lives and looked a fool to bystanders by allowing their court and minds to be taken over by such manipulators. The author uses the seven deadly sins throughout the play to create suspense and conflict. Arthur Miller exemplifies the deadly sin of wrath in the character of John Proctor as he deals with his immense anger towards Abigail Williams and the court system.
John Proctor shows wrath towards Abigail through his accusations of her being a witch and causing such events to take place. He believes that this all began from the moment Parris found them in the forest, and because she was the leader during this ritual, she is to blame. Proctor believes Abigail has never been a true woman through her actions, from acting out during church to her reputation in the town. “It is not a child. Now hear me, sir. In the sight of the congregation, she were twice this year put out of this meetin’ house for laughter during prayer.” (Act Three; Line 865) In this quote, through desperation and anger in attempts to prove Abigail is evil, he brings out any evidence possible to use against her. Proctor is so angered by the court house brushing off everything he says just because she is a child, or that each action may be due to witchery.
Another way Proctor shows his wrath is when he admits to his affair with Abigail in an attempt to ruin her reputation and her true identity. After keeping this a secret for months, from his wife and his town, he slips during the court session and in result lets out the one piece of information that brings him to his downfall at the end of the play when he is hung for adultery. “On the last night of my joy, some eight months past. She used to serve me in my house, sir. A man may think god sleeps, but god sees everything, I know it now. I beg you, sir, I beg you-. See her for what she is. My wife, my dear good wife, took this girl soon after, sir, and put her out on the highroad. And being what she is, a lump of vanity, sir.” (Act Three; Line 1100) This quote is the admitting of Proctor’s affair and his pleads for them to believe him in that she is vain and no good. He knows he has done wrong and only wants to see justice be served on Abigail, who has made him life a living hell ever since.
Finally, Proctor shows wrath towards the court for allowing people to freely accuse the innocent and hang him for being truthful. Throughout the play the characters are able to realize that the accusations being placed are false. They have known each person accused for years and know for a fact that they would never do such a thing. As the story closes, even those involved in the courthouse begin to realize that things are not adding up. Proctor has finally had enough as his wife is taken into custody and he is sentenced to death in attempts to expose Abigail. Before his death he says “I hear the boot of Lucifer, I see his filthy face, and yours, Danforth! For them that quail to bring men out of ignorance. As I have quailed, and as you quail now when you know in all your black hearts this is fraud.” (Act Three; Line 1485) This quote shows that John knows these accusations are false and anyone believing them or not doing anything to stop it is as bad as the devil and belongs in hell.
Wrath is an element of life that everyone will face, but it is crucial to know how to contain it and keep it from overpowering one’s life. In Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, wrath leads to the downfall of the town of Salem, Massachusetts. It also leads to the death of many suspected witches and people who tried to save them from the dangers of the church. Many characters show immense wrath while dealing with the injustice of the church and accusations being made. John Proctor is one example of this deadly sin. In his attempts to save his town from the evil grips of those trying to become superior. In the end, the quality lives up to it’s name as deadly when he is hung for standing up to the court.