Crucible Tale

Back in the 1950's, when insecurity permeated the air, and people were ruled by
fear, Arthur Miller wrote a play, which defined the line between insecurity and
fear. The Crucible was a remade story of the carnal Salem Witch trials, in which
many innocent victims lost their lives. Through this play Miller is trying to
convey the message that death is not in our possession; we are not messengers of

God. Only God decrees those who are to die, because God is in heaven and we are
on Earth and we cannot read his will. Despite this fact, those harsh souls in

The Crucible believe that the courts are messengers of God and their decisions
are divine. In many cases such as that of the Salem Witch trials the results can
be devastating. The Crucible is a heartfelt tale of agony and devotion.

Throughout Salem's struggle for justice and purity, the townspeople are faced
with a question, "Are we really messengers of God?" Everyone handles
the question differently. Those of the town who are in positions of power, such
as Judge Danforth, doubt themselves, but must admit to being true messengers of

God for the sake of political hierarchy. Danforth admits this in his lecture to

Reverend Hale, "Postponement now speaks a floundering on my part; reprieve
or pardon must cast doubt upon the guilt of them that died till now."
(Miller, P.124) He also follows through in his position of power in admitting he
was just in his actions of punishment, "While I speak God's law, I will not
crack its voice with whimpering." (Miller, P124) Judge Danforth backs up
his cause with a biblical reference demonstrating his utter belief in his cause,
"Mr. Hale, as God have not empowered me like Joshua to stop this sun from
rising, so I cannot withhold them from the perfection of their punishment."
(Miller, P125) Others, not leaders in the hierarchy, like Reverend Hale, must
take a different stance to the posed question. Being more spiritual than he is
political, he takes the position that we are not messengers of God, for he has
seen what power and political stance do to one, even though he originally sided
with Danforth on the matter. Even after Danforth's rebuke, he still is able to
muster a response that we, the officials are wrong, "Let you not mistake
your duty as I mistook my own. I came into this village like a bridegroom to his
beloved, bearing gifts of high religion; the very crowns of holy law I brought,
and what I touched with my bright confidence, it died; and where I turned the
eye of my great faith, blood flowed up. Beware, Goody Proctor-cleave to no faith
when faith brings blood..." (Miller, P126) Hale discovers in his life that
misguided faith causes one to believe he has the right answers. Yet, neither of
these officials are native to the town. If one examines the characters of the
town, they all seem to hide their feelings on the question. This is probably a
hidden message being conveyed by Miller, that here in a theocracy, it wasn't
alright to have misguided faith, for in their terms that was herecy. Finally,
close to the play's conclusion Elizabeth Proctor faces the question and states,
"I am not your judge John, I cannot be." (Miller, P132) Elizabeth
believes God is his own messenger and we cannot act like Him, specifically being
a judge. Clearly, there is a distinction in the response to the question of our
representation of God. Edmund S. Morgan in his Historicity of The Crucible
comments on this question, "It allows us to escape from the painful
knowledge that has informed the great religions, knowledge incidentally that the

Puritans always kept before them, the knowledge that all of us are capable of
evil." He continues, "The glory of human dignity is that any man may
show it. The tragedy is that we are all equally capable of denying it."

Morgan seems to be saying a syllogism of the sort: All men are capable of evil;

Messengers of God, according to Puritan belief, are incapable of evil;
therefore, men are not messengers of God. It seems as though Morgan sides with

Elizabeth Proctor and Reverend Hale in this respect, that messengers of God are
incapable of evil, but one detail was overlooked. In Puritan society, the court
system and its members were a separate entity from the people at large. Judge

Danforth was a member of the court system and therefore could still be a
messenger of God even if Elizabeth Proctor and