Our Country’s Good is a play written by Timberlake Wertenbaker, which is based on convicts and Royal Marines that were sent to Australia in the early 1790s as part of the first penal colony. The Crucible written by Arthur Miller in 1953, like Our Country’s Good, were both set in colonial towns in the late 17th Century. During the time, injustice was evident in every day society.
Abigail Williams is one of the characters that Arthur Miller used to demonstrate the theme of injustice.Abigail Williams left the town of Salem confused and crippled in her wake, with many left dead and few to remember the tale. There are several ways that Abigail displayed injustice towards townspeople, her friends, and her enemies. Abigail had a power; a power that could convince anyone that she was right because she was feared. One obvious injustice is that she used this power to kill innocent townspeople because they had to choose between death and damnation. Another injustice is that she was able to accuse people for doing sinful things, when she herself was far from pure.A third injustice is that she used her powers to kill innocent people that she had grudges against.
Abigail was a prime example of how Arthur Miller demonstrated his theme of injustice. Dramatic accusations and confessions are an important aspect of injustice in The Crucible. In the first act, even before the hysteria begins, we see Parris accuse Abigail of dishonouring him, and he then makes a series of accusations against his parishioners. Giles Corey and Proctor respond in kind, and Putnam soon joins in, creating a chorus of indictments even before Hale arrives.The entire witch trial system thrives on accusations, the only way that witches can be identified, and confessions, which provide the proof of the justice of the court proceedings. Proctor attempts to break this cycle with a confession of his own, when he admits to the affair with Abigail, but this confession is trumped by the accusation of witchcraft against him, which in turn demands a confession. Abigail had the power to accuse and hang virtually anyone she wanted, including John and Elizabeth Procter.
Using her “endless capacity for dissembling” she was able to knock anyone she wanted off the face of the arth. She managed to bring about “hard evidence” against John’s wife, so that she could have John all to herself. John Procter knew this, and while he was trying to save his wife, he cried out, “She thinks to dance with me on my wife’s grave! ” In this scene, the Judge of course sides with Abigail and the innocent are left to die. Later on in the play, Abigail realises that John will never return to her and she grows tired of playing her game. In the Crucible, Abby shifts blame for Betty’s state by accusing Tituba of using witchcraft to get the girls to go along with the events of the night in the woods.There would be severe repercussions for Abby and the girls being out in the woods and playing with spells in the Puritan society. Her fear for her own safety causes her to throw all blame on Tituba.
Abby knows that she will be believed over the black woman, and gets her out of trouble. Furthermore, in Act II Elizabeth is set up to be arrested to get her out of the way so that Abby will have John to herself. Abby plants a pin in a doll that she has Mary Warren present to Elizabeth. Later, she will feign a pain in the precise area of the doll’s pin.Abby considers Elizabeth an obstacle in her quest to have John, and is willing to sacrifice her to get what she wants. The colony in Massachusetts was set up by Puritans who sought freedom to practice their religion without interference. However, when they set up their towns and villages, they did so with a sense of intolerance for all human feeling and anything that they did not understand.
For example, when cattle died, or an infant dies in his crib, or a child is stricken with a strange illness, people blamed it on the forces of the devil among them or witchcraft.The injustice exists because some individuals are blamed for unexplainable events as an easy way to dismiss how they happened, because a Puritan in good standing with God’s will did not bring his wrath into the village or town. Rather than acknowledge that they didn’t understand all the events that occurred, they found a way to explain the actions as the work of the devil, acting through someone in the town. An additional cause of injustice is the historical context in which the two plays are set in, which like emphasised earlier, is a prime influence on the motives of the ain characters. Both plays are set in times of colonisation, so they have different historical events that affect the characters. Justice and injustice are also shown through the less well known characters of Mary Warren and Mercy Lewis, followers of Abigail Williams, and through Danforth. After Abigail and the girls are discovered dancing in the forest by Reverend Parris, there are rumours of witchcraft among them.
Once the girls discover this, they become more and more frightened of being accused of witchcraft.Abigail is the first to admit to seeing the devil, and all the other girls join in, so the blame will not be placed on them. “I saw Sarah Good with the Devil. I saw Goody Osburn with the Devil. I saw Bridget Bishop with the Devil. ” Once the accusations began, many innocent people in the community were taken away. They were then either forced to admit that they were witches, to free themselves from a public hanging, or deny that they were witches, saving their integrity, but subjecting themselves to an unjust public hanging.
One of the first people to be charged was Rebecca Nurse, wife of Francis Nurse, a well-respected man of the community. This disturbance caused great anxiety amongst the people in Salem, as they would have least suspected Rebecca Nurse to be one to deal with the Devil. “If Rebecca Nurse be tainted, then nothing’s left to stop the whole green world from burning. ” Goody Putnam was the one to accuse her of witchcraft, for the death of her seven babies, but even with no just proof, Rebecca Nurse is hanged for “sending her spirit out on them. Wild accusations are flying between people in Salem. In the case of Martha Corey, Walcott accused Corey of witchcraft, to settle a score that had happened four or five years ago. Walcott claimed that after buying a pig from Corey, it died soon after that and “from that day to this he cannot keep a pig alive for more than four weeks.
” Giles Corey, Martha Corey’s husband, was later killed for a different reason. He refused to give the name of a man who heard Putnam say he was “killing his neighbours for their land. Giles Corey died an unjust death, great stones placed on his chest, pressing him slowly to death. Any outrageous claims were taken in by the courts, and everyone had a reason to accuse another, resulting in many innocent deaths. The main accuser, Abigail Williams, had an ulterior motive to destroy Elizabeth Proctor. Beforehand, Abigail had an affair with Elizabeth’s husband, John Proctor, and Abigail believed if she removed Elizabeth, she would have John to herself. Most of Abigail’s allegations were based on false claims, believing the relationship between her and John Proctor to be true love.
Proctor realises what Abigail is trying to do, and feels remorse, as he is partly at fault for his relationship with Abigail. “I’ll not give my wife to vengeance. ” At the trial, Proctor no longer tried to protect himself and admits to having an affair with Abigail, explains Abigail’s plan to destroy Elizabeth for revenge. One of the main flaws in the court system is when Danforth claims that “witchcraft is ipso facto, on its face and by its nature, an invisible crime…. we must rely upon her victims-and they do testify. He suggests that there is no visible evidence; therefore they must rely on witnesses. However, he cannot tell if he has unreliable sources or not, but prefers to believe the word of Abigail and the girls, over any other members of the community.
When Mary Warren and John Proctor challenge the court proceedings, by Mary admitting that the information that Abigail and the girls are giving are false, the court is hardly convinced. But later when Mary turns her back and accuses John of witchcraft, the court immediately takes this information aboard, and John is taken away.Also, when Elizabeth does not confess to John being an adulterer, this testimony is used to great extent, so to the court people they believe that John was undoubtedly lying. In Our Country’s Good, there are two historical main events in which the controversial justice system is influenced by, The French Revolution and the American War of Independence. These two events happened in short succession of each other and their effects created frenzy in the latter half of the 18th century. This promoted fear in England which provoked a revolution.The Americans had liberated themselves from England, and coincidentally the main convict housing throughout the whole empire was lost; just like in Sydney Cove.
As a result of the shortage of convict housing strict rules were enforced to ward off revolutionists and therefore, new colonies were established. Our Country’s Good shows the class system in the convict camp and discusses themes such as punishment, the Georgian judicial system, and the idea that that it is possible for ‘theatre to be a humanising force.It was a time of immense social change in Britain, with the beginning and other parts of the British Empire. Social reform under politicians such as Robert Peel and campaigners like William Wilberforce, Thomas Clarkson and members of the Clapham Sect began to bring about radical change in areas such as the abolition of slavery, prison reform and social justice. The Crucible can be perceived as a direct attack on McCarthyism (the policy of sniffing out Communists).When Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were accused of spying for the Soviets and executed, the cast and audience of Miller’s play observed a moment of silence. For one thing, there were, as far as one can tell, no actual witches or devil-worshipers in Salem.
Miller’s Communist friends were often less innocent than the victims of the Salem witch trials, like Rebecca Nurse or the tragic John Proctor. It includes the narrow-mindedness and disregard for the individuals that characterise the government’s effort to stamp out a perceived social ill.The American House of Independence affected the justice system in many ways. Firstly, it includes the narrow mindedness and disregard for the individuals that characterise the government’s effort to stamp out a perceived ill. No actual witches or devil whisperers existed in Salem, however several parallels existed between the un American house of independence. Comparing and contrasting these two plays have made me think about the effects of justice and injustice in the two plays. I believe in The Crucible, Salem is torn apart, due to the extent of Abigail’s imagination nd power.
In the end, injustice thrived upon the souls of the community, leaving many innocent people dead. Justice did not prevail, as the heart behind the case; John Proctor preferred to keep his self-respect and integrity, than live a life of lies. Proctor’s courageous decision, at the close of the play, to die rather than confess to a sin that he did not commit, finally breaks the cycle. The court collapses shortly afterward, undone by the refusal of its victims to propagate lies.In Our Country’s Good Governor Phillip’s stance on the situation implies that our morals are set by society and are not concrete. They are based on individual background and experiences, and also culture. Throughout different periods in history and among different societies, morals vary greatly.
Therefore, Phillip’s argument is that it is not the prisoners’ lack of morality that put them in the position they are in, because morals are relative and differ from each individual and society; but instead, it is their upbringing that led them to the life they lead.I agree with Phillips view of morality. It is similar to that of justice and injustice in the play; effects of background history, culture and society have affected the justice of both of these plays. Some outcomes in the plays were not in the hands of each character, as some results were completely expected.Bibliography The Crucible – Arthur Miller written in 1953 Our Country’s Good – Timberlake Wertenbaker written in 1988
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