POST: 'The Crucible' - the will of God vs the will of law
What's it about?
The Crucible follows the town of Salem during the Witch Trials as they try to uncover dark forces that may or may not be plaguing the children of their town.
What'd I experience?
The Crucible has always been one of those books for me. I ask people if it's worth the read and half of the people give me the whole "OH MY GOD IT'S SO GOOD WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH YOUR LIFE YOU HAVE TO READ IT" and the other half absolutely hate it. On one hand I really like the Salem Witch Trials - not in like a "oh this is so col" kind of way but like a "wow people were actually crazy enough to do this" - so I feel like I would enjoy the story. But on the other hand I was afraid to commit myself to a book about something I like that I might end up hating. So I have always been stuck in the middle of whether or not to read it, so I figured going to see it unfold in front of me would be the most interesting way to finally take it on. Plus Saoirse Ronan was in it and although I can't pronounce her name, I do really enjoy her.
My first observation about the show was my seat. I was sat in the middle seat aaalllllllllll the way in the balcony. At first it was really cool because I kind of had that "BWAHAHA YOU'RE ALL ANTS TO ME" moment, but then it was followed by a "damn I'm kind of far." Surprisingly, though, I think my seat was one of the best in the house. God has a major role in the play, so my view gave me this sort of God's eye view of the show, and plenty of times throughout the show characters would look up to me and question me (yeah it gave me a bit of a complex, but it made the show a little personal in a way).
Right off the bat the show hit one of my personal things, which is that I don't like [most] children. Yeah I get that they're our future leaders and little bundles of joy and whatnot, but they are just terrible people. They have no filter on what they say, no real concept of right and wrong, and are mischievous as hell. And in this show they are even worse - lying about witches and trying to summon spirits and stuff. They're even willing to let people get hanged just so their little game isn't seen through.
Besides that whole children annoyance, the show was really intense. The main aspect of it seemed to be the will of God versus the will of law, with the Reverend John Hale representing the side of God and Deputy Governor Danforth siding with the law. The whole thing started out simply with Hale coming to investigate what seemed to be the presence of witchcraft in Salem. After a bunch of different mishaps and accusations (which just boils down to some children being terrible), almost all of the women in Salem are arrested and put on trial. And on trial, by the way, means either they confess to witchcraft (which they probably didn't commit) and be shamed and exiled by public or refuse and be hanged publicly. One of these women include John Proctor's wife, who is a farmer who does not believe in witchcraft and is trying to save his wife from the rope. His wife was accused and put on trial by Abigail Williams, a girl obsessed with John who wants him for herself and is like the leader of the annoying children of the village. So, in order to save his wife and the rest of Salem, he goes on trial with one of the children, Mary, who testifies that the rest of the children are lying, But she is also just as bad as the rest of them but I'll get to that later.
Now halfway through the trial, Abigail and the rest of the girls come in and start wrecking everything and accusing Mary of witchcraft in order to cover up their lie. And as soon as things start going against her, Mary rejoins Abigail's little army of terror and professes "oh John had me under his control the whole time, he's the Devil, oh Abigail I'm sorry blah blah blah." Because of this whole fiasco, John is now sentenced to hang unless he confesses his demonic connections - and this is where the God vs Law thing comes into play. The Reverend saw through the girls lies and believes John Proctor is a righteous man and is convinced that God is behind him and wants no harm to come to him. The Deputy (and supposed expert who can't see through a few children's lies) believes that no matter if God is behind him, the evidence is against him and for that he must pay. To be honest, though, the Deputy does make a valid point. If the evidence was against him (even if it may obviously be a lie) there wasn't really anything he could do besides convict John. But on the other hand, if the whole point of the Witch Trials is to do God's work and banish evil - then why the hell would you go against what a Reverend is telling you? Like that's the one guy who would know what he's talking about and you're just going to not listen to him?
Now the last conflict, which is my personal favorite, comes with John Proctor's choice on whether or not to confess. If he confesses, he gets to be with his wife and children, but has his name forever tarnished and practically dooms all the others on trial. If he refuses, he is hanged, but gets to keep a good reputation for his name. This sparks a question: what is the true value of one's name? Before you all get smart and say "oh you could just change your name," even if you were to do that, that wouldn't make everyone forget who you are and what you have done in the past. So, it all hangs on the image that everyone sees at the mention of your name. Would life be worth living if your name was connected with man of witchcraft, so that whenever someone hears your name all they could think is evil? Or would it be better to die and be remembered for the honest person you were?
This could even carry on into today's world with the way we handle criminals. Should anyone be able to look up a person's name and see every crime that they were put in jail for, or should we leave that information private? Is there any real reason for someone to have to continue suffering after they have done their time for their crimes by putting that information out there? At the end of the day the only thing you really have for certain is your name, so it is a really hard subject.
Honestly, I don't really know which option is better, on one hand keeping names clear will help former criminals, but on the other hand letting people know what they have done could help protect civilians. I have the slightest preference to having the information out there only because of the whole "needs of the few, good of the many" thing. But I can't imagine what it's like to have to deal with that scenario, especially if you are a former criminal who is truly sorry and regrets what you have done.
Oh yeah and there was also a real live dog in the show for about 30 seconds, and I feel like that was really worth mentioning.