It was with ardent horror that the prehistoric man first witnessed a solar eclipse---the sun swallowed by the predator moon until all light ceased and darkness fell on to the land. We, the more enlightened descendants, have also suffered eclipses. One such eclipse was the darkness of evil that fell upon Salem in 1692, when many men and women were accused of compacting with the Devil. These charges were what snowballed into the huge misfortune known as the "Salem Witch Trials.” The Crucible, written by Arthur Miller, is a play based upon these witch trials, in which John Proctor, a prominent member of their Puritan community, falls into the hurricane of the accusations. Not willing to blacken his name, John hangs for not confessing to compacting with the Devil. When John destroys his untruthful confession, he condemns himself to die and by doing so becomes a true symbol of tragedy.
John Proctor, a respected and followed Puritan, although an adulterer, became one of the most afflicted men in Salem when vengeance was sought upon his wife. Abigail Williams envied Elizabeth, John's beloved wife, when John ended their affair. Abigail accused Elizabeth of sending her spirit out to stab her with a needle so that Elizabeth would be either hung or jailed. By pushing Elizabeth out of John's life, Abigail thought that John would rediscover his love for her. In an attempt to save his wife's life, he pressures his maidservant, Mary Warren, to confess that the groups of girls crying "witchery” were faking. When Abigail breaks Mary's confession by scaring her publicly, Mary turns and accuses John of coming to her in the night and threatening her for her life if she did not save Elizabeth. John, being accused of witchery, had no choice but to be jailed and hung in order to further cleanse the country of evil. On the day of John's hanging, Minister Hale and Judge Danforth came to him to plead with him to sign the confession.