The Crucible

by: Arthur Miller

Act I: The entrance of John Proctor to the entrance of Reverend Hale

Summary Act I: The entrance of John Proctor to the entrance of Reverend Hale

Rebecca’s insistence to Proctor that he not “break charity” with the minister suggests that there are few ways to express individual disagreements in Salem because doing so is considered immoral. Feelings of jealousy and resentment have no outlet other than the court, which, in theocratic Salem, is also an institution of religious authority. The entire community of Salem is thus ripe for the witch trials to become an outlet for the expression of economic, political, and personal grudges through the manipulation of religious and moral authority. The land dispute between Proctor and Putnam adds the final touch to the implication that the real issues in the witch trials have much more to do with intra-societal and interpersonal concerns than with supernatural manifestations of the devil’s influence.