The Importance of Names in The Crucible by Arthur Miller
What is the importance of names?
In this essay I will be trying to answer the question
“What is the importance of names.” Based on the play – The Crucible.
Briefly I will explain what happened in the play. In Salem village, Massachusetts, in 1692, which hysteria swept the area? Salem village was a puritan society, you either loved God and did no wrong or you lived with a blackened name.
A group of young girls were found dancing naked in a forest. Two of the girls then fell unconscious for a few days. Some of the residents of Salem village said it was witchcraft, from then onwards madness struck in Salem village. Hundreds of people were arrested because they were said to have done work for the devil. The play then goes on to focus on two people named John and Elizabeth Proctor, who were accused and it shows how they reacted throughout the witch hysteria.
To set the scene, Betty is aged ten. She was one of the girls that fell unconscious in the forest. Reverend Parris is her father and Abigail Williams is her cousin, they are both very upset about Betty. Abigail was also found in the forest with Betty.
Parris is obviously upset and he starts to question Abigail.
“Your name is entirely white, is it not.” he asks her,
“There be no blush about my name.”
Already names are being questioned whether they are white or black?
When witchcraft was cried in Salem village, Massachusetts, Abigail Williams was centre of it all, from start to finish. In the Putnam house, when Tituba – Parris’s slave from Barbados, owned up to witchcraft, herself, Abigail and Betty began to shout out names of people who they had supposedly seen with the devil. This was an example of using names as self-defence. Using them to protect themselves and making themselves look better.
The court brought the people who were accused of doing work for the devil, and accused them of witchcraft. If they denied the charge and the evidence was sufficient, they were sentenced to hang. However if they were prepared to confess to the charge, and risk loosing their “white name,” they could have then been jailed or let off with a small fee!
Giles Corey, a local resident, stood up in court to try and prove a point, and mentioned that his wife read strange books in the past. A few hours later his wife was arrested. Many other people had used a name in the wrong way; they had betrayed that person. Even writing your name on a petition could have got you locked up and if you refused to give a name in court you would also be arrested. That’s what happened to Giles Corey, he was asked many times to give a name in court, but each time he...