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The Character of Mary Warren

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  • Pages: 4
  • Word count: 822
  • Category: Character

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In Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, Mary Warren is shown to the audience as a lonely character with a lack of fortitude. Her weak will and timid nature puts her in many situations where she refuses to stand up and do what she knows is right. Warren succumbs under peer pressure and societal expectations, placing her in a predicament that causes her to harm other people. She is not an evil person, but as a result of her giving in to what people want, she makes a few malicious decisions. As the play develops, Mary Warren reveals her spineless, gullible, and sympathetic character.

Throughout this play, Mary Warren is constantly letting either Abigail Williams or society pressure her into doing the wrong things proving she is spineless and cowardly. She even risks her life to keep her place as Abigail’s friend when John Proctor wants Mary to tell the court how the doll came into the Proctor house and who stuck a needle in it. Mary Warren knows Abigail saw her make the poppet, but only responds, “I cannot, they’ll turn on me-”. (Miller 1071) Mary Warren is scared that she will lose Abigail as a friend, even though Abigail is manipulative and only cares about herself. Mary decides to confess to the court in fear of not wanting her life to be taken away. When Danforth accuses Mary Warren of witchcraft, soon things start to go downhill. Mary quickly finds Proctor as her scapegoat and tells the court “[Hysterically, pointing at PROCTOR My name, he want my name] ‘I’ll murder you,’ he says, ‘if my wife hangs! We must go and overthrow the court,’ he says!” (Miller 1094) Mary does this to get out of being executed for witchcraft. She makes Proctor her scapegoat when things start going wrong for her and does not consider what might happen to him as an effect, making her a spineless and cowardly person.

As much as Mary Warren is spineless, she is also very naive and gullible, meaning she believes almost anything because of lack of experience. One way she shows her gullibility is when she believes Sarah Good made a compact with Lucifer. And when Mary told Proctor of when she was in court, she tells him that “In open court she near choked us all to death” and when he asked how she responded, “She sent her spirit out,” (Miller 1057) Mary is so easily deceived that she believes this even though she barely knows the woman. Later in their conversation Mary randomly says, “The Devil’s loose in Salem, Mr. Proctor; we must discover where he’s hiding!” (Miller 1058) One reason she says this is because she is trying to find an excuse to not stay home. This statement also proves how mindless Mary Warren is. During this part of the play, Mary strives for her way and a sense of purpose, whereas she is used to being at the bottom of society, but cannot hold it long enough. She just results back to her cowardly ways. Though Mary Warren is not the most innocent character, Miller’s portrayal of her is somewhat sympathetic.

Mary makes a few mistakes in this play. For example, the part where she comes in late from being in court. She tries to make peace by giving Elizabeth Proctor a gift. “[As though to compensate, MARY WARREN goes to ELIZABETH with small rag doll]” and says, “I made you a gift for you today, Goody Proctor. I had to sit long hours in a chair, and passed the time with sewing.” (Miller 1056) This shows how sorry Mary really is and makes it where the audience cannot help but feel sorry for her. The way John Proctor treats Mary Warren also makes the audience feel sympathy for her. In one instance he threatens her, “I’ll whip the Devil out of you! [With the whip raised he reaches for her, and she streaks away and yells.]” (Miller 1058) Mary Warren gets terribly frightened at this moment, winning the audience over with her fear as if she was a little child. She wins many sympathy votes over this scene. This does not mean that she is a victim though because she puts Proctor in danger when she confesses to the court.

The audience sees how lonely Mary is and they sympathize with her. Mary Warren’s character traits are very clear to the audience. In Author Miller’s The Crucible, she proves to be spineless, gullible, and sympathetic. Most of her traits center around her loneliness. Her loneliness cause her to want to be seen, but also causes her be weak. Mary Warren is treated very wrong by the community, but she is not innocent. Throughout the play, Mary Warren is seen as a weak girl that gets in the way, but she really is a young woman looking for the attention of her friends and the community.

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