|In the play The Crucible by Arthur Miller the theme of hypocrisy is used to show the weakness of the character, Reverend Samuel Parris, to effectively expose the mischief of Abigail Williams, and to reveal that when people are faced with fear, they tend to lose reason.
Reverend Samuel Parris tries to make his congregation believe he is a true Puritan minister who cares for his congregation. However, he is selfish and only cares for himself. When the witchcraft hysteria is exposed, he is more worried about his own reputation. It is also revealed that pewter candlesticks were not good enough for him. He had to have golden ones. John Proctor, an affluent man in the community, will not let Parris baptize his child because he has no respect for him. Parris also argues with the church members over his pay. He is all about greed, which makes him hypocritical as a man of the cloth.
The leader of the group of girls who accuse others is Abigail Williams. The theme of hypocrisy is shown in her by all of her mischievous actions. She wants John Proctor as her own so she plans to get rid of Elizabeth Proctor. She sticks herself in the stomach with a needle just to accuse Mrs. Proctor of witchcraft, and she steals money from the man who puts a roof over her head. Everything she does in the play portrays her as conniving and deceiving.
In the village of Salem, most of the individuals are paranoid about Satan. They believe he is just lying in wait to tempt them. During the trials people looked for any change in others to point fingers. Martha Corey’s own husband made the authorities suspicious of her by mentioning the reading of strange books. The village condemned one of the most reasonable aged persons in the village—Rebecca Nurse. She knew from the beginning that the girls were only trying to get attention, but no one would listen.
All three themes help in creating a play that draws attention to one of the most tragic events in American history. Hypocrisy makes people do irresponsible things. Our judgment often becomes clouded by the actions of others who influence the way we behave. This is truly shown in The Crucible, where people become suspicious of one another and destroy lives for no reason at all.