“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!” (Act III, The Crucible)
Pain, tragedy and hardships are experienced daily and can be found all around us. Contemplating one’s current situation of adversity, especially if it seems like one is completely forsaken and hopeless, causes one to ask multiple questions, such as, “What is the point in my suffering?” or “Is anyone going to save me?”
The Crucible by Arthur Miller is a play written in 1952 about the Salem witch trials that occurred in 1692. The trials were instigated by false claims made by young girls that people around them were witches. One of the play’s central conflicts is one man’s struggle to find his goodness and what defines him, as well as the Puritan community’s search for truth amidst their fear-filled environment.
So much injustice, madness and heartache were present in the events of the Salem witch trials, as presented by The Crucible. It seemed as if most of the Puritan community was blinded towards the foolishness of the trials, and while reading, I envisioned the people in the story asking where God was and why He wasn’t intervening in the horrible events that took place.
I think that The Crucible teaches us that even in times when we think all hope is gone and God has abandoned us, He is ever present (as illustrated by the quote above) and will send us guidance.
In the play, this lesson can be seen as embodied by John Proctor. Proctor is in a large sense, God’s salvation for the Puritan community. Miller presents Proctor as a defiant character who refuses to give in to the girls’ rampant lie and ends up dying in a martyr-like fashion. In the play’s epilogue, it is implied that Proctor’s death truly impacted how the community saw the witch claims and played a role in the decline of the hangings.
I believe that not letting go of the hope that God (or some sense of light) is always there is necessary to get by in life. With all the chaos and dejection that comes with war, poverty, crushed dreams, lost loves, and countless other struggles, it is important to remember that there is always goodness ablaze amidst a dark whirlpool of catastrophes.