These Arthur Miller’s The Crucible quotes help us think critically about our individuality in the face of extremism.
Miller masterfully uses historical events to bring to life the Salem witch trials.
Today a “witch hunt” is understood to be a campaign directed against a person or group holding unorthodox or unpopular views.
However, Miller gives us the stark, brutal reality where this term originated.
A saying from Japan suggests the nail who sticks out gets hammered down, meaning those who are different from the majority will be punished.
This book was banned in the United States because it mirrored the violence and humiliation many Americans suffered during the McCarthy era.
The Crucible has special relevance today as many people are forced to balance a life amidst extremism, herd mentality, and individuality.
The Crucible makes us ask how far would we go to fit in?
Do we hide our inner thoughts and true nature from others?
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These 50 The Crucible quotes help us to make our own conclusions to these questions.
1. “It is an allegory of our times.”
2. “Sex, sin, and the Devil were early linked.”
3. “Some dream I had must have mistaken you for God that day.”
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4. “I speak my own sins; I cannot judge another. I have no tongue for it.”
5. “…an everlasting funeral marches round your heart.”
6. “You are pulling down heaven and raising up a whore”
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7. “God damns our kind especially, and we will burn, we will burn together!”
8. “There is prodigious fear in seeking loose spirits.”
9. “We are only what we always were”
10. “Peace. It is a providence, and no great change; we are only what we always were, but naked now.”
The Crucible Quotes that Make You Think
11. “Give them no tear! Tears pleasure them. Show honor now, show a stony heart and sink them with it!”
12. “I may think of you softly from time to time. But I’ll cut off my hand before I ever reach for you again.”
13. “I should hang ten thousand that dared to rise against the law, and an ocean of salt tears could not melt the resolution of the statutes.”
14. “What work you do! It’s strange work for a Christian girl to hang old women!”
15. “Oh, Elizabeth, your justice would freeze beer.”
16. “Perhaps because there are those who believe that authority is all of a piece and that to challenge it anywhere is to threaten it everywhere.”
17. “The Devil is precise; the marks of his presence are definite as stone…”
18. “Life, woman, life is God’s most precious gift; no principle, however glorious, may justify the taking of it.”
19. “PROCTOR, his mind wild, breathless: I say–I say–God is dead!”
20. “Great stones they lay upon his chest until he plead aye or nay. They say he give them but two words. “More weight,” he says. And died.”
The Crucible Quotes from Arthur Miller
21. “He have his goodness now. God forbid I take it from him!”
22. “A child’s spirit is like a child, you can never catch it by running after it; you must stand still, and, for love, it will soon itself come back.”
23. “We are what we always were in Salem, but now the little crazy children are jangling the keys of the kingdom, and common vengeance writes the law!”
24. “It is rare for people to be asked the question which puts them squarely in front of themselves”
25. “I cannot sleep for dreaming; I cannot dream but I wake and walk about the house as though I’d find you comin’ through the door.”
Our society is much like the society in The Crucible.
In their world, a group of children playing in the woods avoid accountability by blaming neighbors and projecting their guilt.
These actions reflect the paranoia emanating out of the people in the environment as well as a childlike abuse of power.
In real life, by 1692 the court in Salem convicted and executed 19 people for being witches.
Some judge this as barbaric, but we continue to hear stories of “Karen” or “Kevin” narratives where people are falsely accused, incarcerated or killed because of a projected lie that is accepted by the public.
Increasing imprisonment rates continue to reflect the mob mentality and “good” versus “bad” narrative that doomed the lives of people in Salem.
The Crucible reinforces the importance of living our truth and not letting shame or regret stop us from being our best self while also reminding us how easily fear and paranoia can impair our perceptions when left unchecked.