The Puritans’ views on sex were not so “puritanical” as we usually imagine. Sexual intercourse between married persons was not only encouraged, it was required by law. If a husband proved an impotent, his wife could have the marriage annulled.
If the wife refused sex to her husband, this was considered “neglect of duty” and could be used as grounds for divorce. God had commanded his people to be fruitful and multiply, and the puritans took this commandment seriously. Today we call sexual intercourse, “making love”, or “sleeping with.” To the Puritans a man and women who had intercourse were “made one flesh. ” If you were married, it was your duty to be made on flesh with your spouse.
But if you were made flesh with someone other than your spouse, this was adultery. And adultery, like witchcraft, was a capital offense. Elizabeth Proctor must have loved her husband very much to keep his secret. Later we will see how much John Proctor loves Elizabeth, for he is willing to confess his adultery to save her.
Now, you can see how the characters are affected by the themes, which were developed. The “heat between Abigail and Proctor, is really about one man’s struggle with his conscience. The whole play revolves around Proctor. The witch madness serves only to intensify and focus Proctor’s energies on his problems with his wife, his neighbors, and himself.
In order for someone to be guilty, there must be “proof” to prove them so. The concept of justice is central in the play, The Crucible.Arthur Miller dedicates the entire third Act to the courtroom drama. Lastly, The Crucible tells a story of the American past, a time when many of the basic principles of our society were formed. As the Puritan’s express the views they, it’s possible the playwright suggests many things that were wrong in 1692, are still wrong today.
There are many themes throughout The Crucible that help to enhance the story and make for better reading. Here, we highlight some of the main themes and define them so they are easier to understand.