The Inequality Between Man and Woman in The Crucible

April 21, 2023
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The Inequality Between Man and Woman in The Crucible essay
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In the play ‘The Crucible’ by author Arthur Miller, it is very apparent that Miller presents an overall unbalanced view of men and women. The Crucible is a play about the Salem witch trials that took place in Massachusetts and begins with a girl named Abigail. She performs witchcraft and once caught, accuses others of the small village ruled by theology of witchcraft. She does this to murder the wife of a man called John Proctor, who she had an affair with a few months prior. To discuss the issue of inequality between man and woman, this essay will explain more about the theme of gender roles that is portrayed through the characters in the play. It is thoroughly demonstrated that women in this society are inferior to men.

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Theme of gender inequality in The Crucible

Arthur Miller shows the inferiority that women have to men with throughout ‘The Crucible’. An example of Tituba, a slave from Barbados, is intimidated with Samuel Parris because '...her slave sense has warned her that...trouble in this house eventually lands on her back' (Miller, 1, 8). This shows that Tituba is in constant fear of Samuel Parris as a male figure in the household, especially with the accusations of witchcraft that put her in a more uncomfortable and frightful situation with men. Furthermore, once Abigail Williams began bullying the girls into doing what she wants, even resorting to violence with Betty who is 'frightened of Abigail' (Miller, 1, 18), but once John Proctor enters the room where the girls are, Mary Warren 'can barely speak for embarrassment and fear', and Abigail 'has stood as though on tiptoe, absorbing his presence, wide-eyed' (Miller, 1, 20). Their terror and stillness indicates their subservience and inferiority to John Proctor. In addition, Elizabeth is also shown as inferior to John Proctor. An example being when John Proctor states, 'You will not judge me more.' (Miller, 3, 115) which indicates that Elizabeth obtains no obligation and right to stand up to the male figure, even though it is for John Proctor's wrongdoings. Additionally, even in the court under the word of the lord, she denied Proctors affair with Abigail. Which further implies that women respect their husbands so much that they cannot bring themselves to say anything that could hurt their reputation. These examples demonstrate the servitude and unbalance of women and men.

The Crucible has portrayed a character by the name of Abigail Williams in many gender-related stereotypical ways. She has been seen in ‘The Crucible’ as a manipulative and evil person. Abigail sent many people of the village to their deaths because of pettiness against Elizabeth and John Proctor. Williams states, “You loved me, John Proctor, and whatever sin it is, you love me yet!” (Miller, 1, 24). With this, Williams confessed of her acts of witchcraft to John Proctor and shows no remorse, with her only focus to do anything possible to get what she wants. Abigail represents the stereotypical angst female that only cares about what she wants.

In conclusion, ‘The Crucible’ by Arther Miller has an unbalanced view of men and women that shows that women are inferior to men and once given the chance at power, will take it even if they have to destroy lives to have it. Miller shows how women perceived that they were inferior through their reactions to the presence of men. He also telegraphs themes of the maliciousness of women through their deeds in the witch trials. Throughout the Crucible, these notions build an overall theme of imbalance between men and women.


  1. Miller, A. (1953). The Crucible: A Play in Four Acts. Viking Press.
  2. Ditsky, J. (2002). "The Crucible": Arthur Miller's View on Conflicts. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 46(1), 38-49.
  3. Pringle, R. W. (2011). Gender Roles in "The Crucible". Helium.
  4. Lavender, C. (2013). The Salem Witch Trials and McCarthyism: Parallels in Public Hysteria. Concord Review, 25(1), 85-92.
  5. Bonnet, B. (2016). ‘Women Are Either Virgins or Whores’: Arthur Miller's Portrayal of Women in The Crucible. Etudes Anglaises, 69(4), 478-489.
This essay is graded:
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Expert Review
The essay delves into the theme of gender inequality portrayed in Arthur Miller's play "The Crucible." It highlights instances where women are shown as inferior to men, and the author employs examples from the play to support the argument. However, the analysis could benefit from deeper textual engagement and a more nuanced exploration of the characters and their dynamics. The essay captures the theme of women's subservience and manipulation, with references to specific dialogue. However, to enhance its impact, the essay should delve further into the nuances of the characters' motivations and the societal context in which they operate. Additionally, clearer transitions between paragraphs would improve the essay's flow and cohesion.
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What can be improved
Textual Analysis: Provide more in-depth analysis of key moments and dialogues from the play to strengthen the argument. Nuanced Exploration: Delve deeper into the motivations and complexities of the characters, considering the historical and social context. Transitions: Ensure smoother transitions between paragraphs to enhance the essay's overall coherence and readability.
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The Inequality Between Man and Woman in The Crucible essay

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