English - Guilt
In the Introduction to his Collected Plays, Miller states that guilt was
integral to the escalation of the witch-hunt. He says, "the central impulse
for writing was the interior psychological question, which was the question
of that guilt residing in Salem which the hysteria merely unleashed".
In his commentary Miller also states that the witch-hunt was an
opportunity for people to publicly admit their guilt. Thus, in _The
Crucible_, the link is made between private guilt and public
responsibility. The girls, guilty of dancing and making charms, admit to
witchcraft to escape their responsibility.
Likewise, other characters are able to admit their guilt in the guise of
accusations. Proctor's struggle is one to overcome his guilt and rediscover
his integrity. Hale, at the end of the play, breaks with the teachings of
the church because of his guilt at having helped cause the tragedy.
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