We are not so different today as in the Seventeenth Century. People in positions of power abusing their positions is as prevalent today as it was then. ‘The Crucible’ is a 1953 play by American playwright Arthur Miller. It is a dramatized story of the Salem witch trials that took place in the Massachusetts Bay.
Abuse of power is using power and authority for personal gain, and it is twice as bad when it causes an ill effect on other people. In ‘The Crucible’ three main characters abuse their power. They are Reverend Paris, the Putnams and Abigail Williams.
There are some notable and recent examples of abuse of power that mirrors the same issues raised by Arthur Miller. These include the somewhat comical 2013 story of the daughter of the Mexican Attorney General for Consumer Protection and the more local example of Joh Bjelke-Petersen, the disgraced Premier of Queensland who held office from1968 to 1987.
We can draw a comparison in ‘The Crucible’, when Reverend Parris abuses his power by saving himself and only caring about his reputation. This is shown in when Parris knew this and abused his power as the Reverend of Salem, “I have fought here three long years to bend these stiff-necked people to me” this show his long quest for power. “He cut a villainous path, and there is very little good to be said for him. He believed he was being persecuted wherever he went, despite his best efforts to win people and God to his side…He felt insulted if someone rose to shut the door without first asking his permission”. Revered Paris isn’t the only character that abuses power, the Putnams in the book are abusing their power by using their high station in the town to accuse others of witchcraft so that they can claim their land. Abigail Williams, who becomes loved by the community, begins to abuse her power throughout the play by threatening the other girls and innocent people of witchcraft. Abigail Williams, John Proctor’s whore, gains power through her role as the so-called ‘witch radar’. She abuses it to save herself and seek revenge on Elizabeth, John Proctor’s wife, after she fired Abigail and gave her a bad reputation. This is exemplified in this early scene in which Abigail falsely accuses Tituba of witchcraft “She sends her spirit on me in church; she makes me laugh at prayer!”; “She comes to me every night to go and drink blood!”. “Sometimes I wake and find myself standing in the open doorway and not a stitch on my body! I always hear her laughing in my sleep. I hear her singing her Barbados songs and tempting me with'.
Now back to the future. Let’s go to Modern day Mexico. Humberto’s daughter in Mexico turned up at a restaurant and did not get the table she wanted, and she threw a fit at the chic bistro in a popular Mexican neighbourhood. The bad-tempered young lady used the position of her family to send in the food inspectors and shut down the restaurant and destroy the business.
The Queensland example of abuse of power in the Bjelke-Petersen government came to a head in 1987 when his government came under the spotlight of a royal commission into police corruption and its links with state government ministers. Bjelke-Petersen resigned from politics on 1 December, 1987. Two of his state ministers and his appointed police commissioner were jailed for corruption offences and in 1991 Bjelke-Petersen was tried for perjury but the jury failed to reach a verdict, and Bjelke-Petersen was deemed too old to face a second trial.
Abuse of power isn’t the only important theme in ‘The Crucible’ the Fear of the unknown is an important theme as well. Fear of the unknown is being afraid of other cultures, and you can't comprehend what’s to come.
Not too long ago, there has been a shooting at Christ Church in New Zealand in a Deans Ave and Linwood mosques. A young Australian White supremacist, who feared Muslim’s, murdered 50 people and injured countless others who were praying in Mosques. He took justice into his own hands and became judge, jury and executioner. This is not how a justice system should work.
In ‘The Crucible’ this is similar to people sentencing women in particular to death. The community was swept up in fear that caused a mob mentality. This is shown in the following passage in which Danforth “In an ordinary crime, how does one defend the accused? One calls up witnesses to prove his innocence. But witchcraft is ipso facto, on its face and by its nature, an invisible crime is it not? Therefore, who may possibly be witness to it? The witch and the victim. None other...we must rely on upon her [ the witch's] victims”.
This quote represents the type of logic used in these witch trials and the minds of terrorists such as the one in New Zealand. It exemplifies the craziness of the' justice' system in place during the Salem witch trial. To only consider the so-called 'witch' and 'victim' is completely unfair against the 'witch.' Using this process, anyone can be convicted, and this is the same logic terrorists use.
I have always been thinking when will it stop?!