This essay intends to analyze the characters found in the Crucible. Because of Kohlberg’s moral perceptions, we can deconstruct the motivations behind their actions. By utilizing this theory, we will examine their statements and reach a logical explanation for their decisions. As a result, they will be categorized as pre-conventional, conventional, or post-conventional characters. The aforementioned terms will be broken down within their respective sections of the essay.
There are people in the crucible that match the definition of pre-conventional. Pre-conventional behaviour refers to individuals that are driven by a desire to obtain reward and avoid punishment. The first character that can be described as pre-conventional is Tituba. After being threatened with a whipping “to [her] death,” she confesses to witchcraft. Despite being innocent, Tituba pleads guilty because the alternative was her death. The next individual would be Ann Putnam. Because she had to “bury all but one” of her children, she was burdened by loss. As such, she accused Rebecca in an attempt to ease her guilt. The last character within the crucible that is driven by a desire to obtain reward and avoid punishment is Reverend Parris. He demands that “[he] must know [if Abby was guilty] because surely [his] enemies will.” Maintaining his position of power is the most important thing to Parris. There are undoubtedly pre-conventional characters that are located inside this play.
Secondly, there are individuals in the crucible that are conventional. This describes people that behave in a certain way to fit into a group. John Procter is the first character that can be categorized as conventional. He claims that Abby and himself have “never touched.” Because Procter fears being ostracized by the whole town, he desires to end the affair. The next characters are the girls. During court, they support Abby by claiming that she “mustn’t.” They accuse people to belong within the court because it grants them power that they initially lacked. In the Crucible, the last character that behaves in a certain way to fit into a group is Danforth. He refused to pardon anybody because “twelve are already hanged for the same crime.” If Danforth admitted that he was wrong, he would lose all status and credibility. As such, his reputation would have been completely ruined. There are numerous conventional characters found inside the play.
Lastly, there are post-conventional characters within the Crucible. Post-convention behaviour is demonstrated by those that internalize a sense of right and wrong. This moral code cannot be altered by punishment, reward, or group acceptance. The first post-conventional individual is Giles Corey. Even though he was being brutally tortured, he simply asked that they add “more weight” to his chest. Giles wanted to retain his rights when he died, as he intended his children to inherit his land. The second character is Elizabeth Procter. While being questioned, she swore that her husband was a “goodly man.” Elizabeth knew the truth, but she valued her lover more than herself. Consequently, she chose to save his reputation while condemning her soul. Finally, Hale is the last person that has a moral code that cannot be altered by punishment, reward, or group acceptance. After realizing that innocent people were going to die, he decided to “quit this court.” He risked his reputation and everything else because he did not believe that the trials were right. There are individuals found in the Crucible that can be categorized as post-conventional.
The Crucible is filled with complex characters that have complicated motivations. Nonetheless, Kohlberg’s theory is a dependable method for demystifying the reasons behind their decisions. After classifying these individuals, it is easier to understand their behaviour. Otherwise, there are confusing aspects within the play. Though the moral perceptions were used for fictional people within this essay, the same ideas can be applied to reality.