Despite our thoughts of Puritans as holy and righteous people, Arthur Millers, The Crucible shows many of them as the complete opposite. Many people that read such tales of the Puritan life styles start to perceive all Puritans as un-holy, and non-righteous people.
In act one there are many cases of people acting un-holy and non-righteous. Such cases include when the girls are caught dancing in the forest with a black slave girl named Tituba. While dancing, the girls are caught by the local minister, Reverend Parris. Before questioning, Abigail speaks with the other girls, and tells them not to admit to anything. The girls obey her, and end up lying to all the adults that questioned her.
Soon after, John Procter, a local farmer gets a chance to talk with Abigail alone. Abby then admits that her and John were involved in an affair the year prior. The affair led to the release of her by Elizabeth, John Procter’s wife, as a servant. Elizabeth is questioned later about why Abby was fired. Elizabeth’s answer was a complete lie. Elizabeth claimed that Abby was not a good enough worker, when in fact it was because of John’s affair with Abby. Out of revenge for John not wanting anything to do with her, Abigail frames Elizabeth. Since Abby can’t have John Procter, she wants Elizabeth to pay for it. Abby convinces the court that Elizabeth stabbed her with a sewing needle in the stomach. The court arrests Elizabeth and holds her in custody. For Elizabeth’s defense, John admits to the people of Salem that he had an affair with Abby. “A man may think God sleeps, but God sees everything, I know it now. I beg you, sir, I beg you—see her what she is … She thinks to dance with me on my wife’s grave! And well she might, for I thought of her softly. God help me, I lusted, and there is a promise in such sweat. But it is a whore’s vengeance…” (1146) This quote by John in Act III is a plead to the court so show that Elizabeth is in fact not guilty of the crime committed, and it was just Abby’s way of getting back at both the Procter’s.
John Procter: Coward: He never actually confesses to his wife that he has had an affair, she finds out herself. He only confesses that the he knew that the girls were lying when his own interests were at stake for example when they took his wife away to try her for witchcraft. He did not stand up to save his friends, he only stood up for his wife when he needed to, and he could have saved many ...
Another example of un-holiness in The Crucible is when John Procter is hanged for not allowing Danforth to post his confession on the church. “Because it is my name! Because I cannot have another in my life! Because I lie and sign myself to lies! Because I am not worth the dust on the feet of them that hang! How may I live without my name? I have given you my soul; leave me my name!” (1166) This quote, in Act IV, is showing how John wrestles with his conscience over whether to confess to witchcraft and thereby save his life. In most part, this is showing his desire not to dishonor his fellow prisoners. John would not be able to live with himself knowing that other innocents died while he knocked at death’s door and fled.
For those reasons, I believe the church, and many of the people of Salem to be un-holy and non-righteous. There are many other cases when people are acting un-holy but I chose to do the main ones. If you had a picture in your mind of how well Puritans behaved and how pure they were, this essay other The Crucible should get you an insight to what many of the Puritans actually acted like.