Themes of Betrayal and Deceit in The Crucible (Analysis of Important Quotes)

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“Abby, I may think of you softly from time to time. But I will cut off my hand before I’ll ever reach for you again. Wipe it out of mind. We never touched.” (Page 23)

In this quote, two betrayals are revealed by Proctor. First, his betrayal to his wife and second his betrayal to Abigail.  These two betrayals are crucial to the play seeing as it is due to Proctor’s betrayal of his wife, by cheating on her, and his betrayal of Abigail, by leaving her without taking responsibility, that initiated the conflict. Furthermore, because Proctor is not willing to admit his deceit, both he and his wife got caught in the turmoil. Ultimately, Proctor’s betrayal and deceit lead to his downfall. Throughout the play, Proctor’s betrayal and deceit follows him, making deceit and betrayal reoccurring themes.

“ Tituba, terrified, falls to her knees: No, no don’t hang Tituba! I tell him I don’t desire to work for him, sir.” (Page 44)

Tituba, afraid of harsh punishment, lied to save herself. However, this deceit had lead to something much grander; it started the witch hunt frenzy in Salem. Her admitting to the existence of the devil became the basis on which the girls can spread their lies and accuse more innocent people. This is the start of the chain reaction.

“Abigail- now she takes a backward step, as though in fear the bird will swoop down momentarily: Oh please, Mary! Don’t com down.

Susanna Walcott: Her claws, she’s stretching her claws!” (Page 115)

In this quote, because of Mary Warren’s betrayal, Abigail decided to deceive the court to save herself. The girls, desperate to not let the secret out, followed Abigail’s lead to further deceive the town in order to same themselves.  The betrayal and deceit grew in the town of Salem, causing a bloodbath of legal murder.  One lie builds on another until someone can break the chain. The theme of deceit and betrayal is ever evident throughout the play.

“ Danforth: … Is your husband a lecher!

Elizabeth, faintly: No, sir.” (page 113)

This is one of the turning point of the play where things for the protagonist could have turned for the better, but didn’t due to deceit and betrayal. Elizabeth betrayed Proctor’s expectations to not lie ad she decided to lie to save her husband’s face. Once again betray and deceit are the reasons why the end turned out the way it did.


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