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"the Crucible" Theme Essay

Essay by review  •  March 14, 2011  •  Essay  •  1,080 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,403 Views

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"The Crucible" Theme Essay

Courage

Truly courage played an important role in the Salem Witch Trials, and it may have been one of the key reasons the gruesome Salem Witch Trials finally came to its end. The courage shown by people impacted others during this time period by forcing people to acknowledge their viewpoints, which led to the end of the trials. Courage was displayed in three ways, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Emotional courage means showing courage without physical means and being courageous with words and felling. Physical courage means to be courageous with action. Lastly, spiritual courage means to be courageous in the sense that one shows courage in spirit, meaning courage shown indirectly, unlike emotional or physical courage.

Emotional courage was the most widely displayed type of courage during the Salem Witch Trials. Several people were emotionally courageous because they didn't have the power to show physical courage and in many cases, emotional courage impacted the society of Salem more powerfully than physical courage. For example, women during this time period had little power, therefore unable to display their courage physically. However, several women showed strong emotional courage. An example of this would be Abigail. Despite being a girl, Abigail was very manipulative, and displayed courage in leading the girls in Salem. An example of this is shown in the text on page 1223 in the text. Abigail says, "Listen now; if they be questioning us, tell them we danced--I told him as much already." This quote shows that Abigail is very forceful, and is showing that she is courageous because she is taking lead of the girls, which is dangerous because if their ruse is found out, she will be the most severely punished for being the leader. Not only did the women show emotional courage, but men did as well. Several men could not act with physical courage against the court of Salem because of its power. Therefore they showed emotional courage, which was dangerous as well. For example, Francis stood up to the court in order to save his family. On page 1255, Francis said, "Excellency, I never thought to say it to such a weighty judge, but you are deceived." Francis was taking a great risk and showing great courage in saying this because going against the court was an easy way to be accused of witchcraft. Emotional courage held great weight and eventually showed society of the falseness of the Salem Witchcraft Trials.

Although emotional courage may in some cases be more powerful than physical courage, physical courage was the hardest to display due to the power held by the accusers of witchcraft, and most of the time physical courage was the most meaningful way to show a view point. One of the main people to show his courage was John Proctor. John Proctor soon became widely known to be against the Trials through his acts. For example, when the court claimed the Elizabeth might have had hidden poppets for witchcraft, John was furious and physically tried to stop them from taking Elizabeth for questioning. In the text on page 1247, he furiously said, "I'll tell you what's walking Salem - vengeance is walking Salem. We are what we always were in Salem, but now the little crazy children are jangling the keys of the kingdom, and common vengeance writes the law! This warrant's vengeance! I'll not give my wife to vengeance!" This quote showed that Proctor was disagreeing with the court, and emphasized it by trying to prevent Elizabeth from being taken away. Also, even though Abigail was a girl, she showed physical courage as well, which was uncommon for women to show in the Puritan society. On page 1219 she says, "Speak nothin' of it in the village, Susanna. I will come to you in the black of some terrible night and I will bring

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