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Black Pawn: White Pawn Essay, Research Paper

Have you ever played a chess game? It’s a game of strategy and quick thinking to move the royalty skillfully, always concentrating on defeating the opposing side. Eiter side can forfeit the life of their king and queen with one costly move. The pawns are the insignificant pieces used to save the most important pieces. In Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, the chess game portrays the tragic Salem witch hunts in which innocent livews were made victim of tis evil game started by Abigail, Betty, and Mary Warren’s false accusations. These three lied and deceived to escape a confession for their sinful actions. It was their cries that began the dangerous game, but who’s “in check” in the end?

The first move was made by Betty and Abigail, who were caught dancing in the woods by Reverend Paris. He began accusing them of practicing dark arts. Betty had feigned a powerful lokking illness to avoid having to say anything about the incident. She played the vulnerable child until Abigail had embarked upon her plan. Tituba was present and the girls had been dancing to conjure up the dead of Goody Proctor. When Tituba entered the scene, Abigail made her move. She accused Tituba of making them do bad things such as drink blood, and why Betty was sick. Tituba, however, did not subject herself as a helpless victim of Abigail’s sick game. Tituba twisted the lie aroun so it was for her benefit, if she confessed she would be forgiven. She saw her opportunity for a counter move and took it. Abigail had the fingers pointing at her and Betty again. Abigail made a dangerous turn. She and Betty accused Goody Good, Goody Osburn, Bridget Bishop, George Jacobs, Goody Howe, Martha Bellows, Goody Sibber, Alice Barrow, Goody Hawkins, Goody Bibber, and Goody Booth of being witches. Abigail and Betty had managed to take themselves out of danger, but left them in a more cautious state for their next strike. Eleven lives accused for their precious two.

The setting of the board was in Abigail’s favor. The town officials had accepted every word poured from their mouth as the truth. Again Abigail made a devious move. Mary Warren, one of Abigail’s pawns, was sent to give Goody Proctor a doll. A doll resembled a talisman of anyone the owner of the charm wished to inflict pain on. Cheever, an official of the court, later showed up at the Proctor’s door with a warrant for Elizabeth’s arrest. Abigail had blamed her for attempted murder by use of a doll. Abigail had made a sacrifice of one of her pawns to take out Goody Proctor. Abigail had punctured herself with a needle. Mary Warren, in her confession, had not mentioned Abigail’s scheme of the charm. She swore that she made the doll and put the needle in the middle. Proctor’s move was to force Mary Warren to confess. Proctor’s move was to force Mary Warren to confess. Proctor had taken out one of Abigail’s black pawns.

Betty does not come into te game anymore, but her incriminating scs were very damaging. Every accusation made had been false; to keep the queen and her pawns alive. Mary Warren, though she tried to turn the table, had done her part: Even though she confessed herself to the making of the doll (allegedly Elizabeth’s), there were her claims of seeing evil spirits and fainting witnessed by those who attended the court. This can be shortened as, “Every time you do something good, they never remember. Every time you do someting bad, they never forget.” Because of the deceptions of Abigail and Betty, and Mary Warren’s credulity, the townsmen were susceptible to any tale told and not the truth, which by this time, had cost the lives of a significant number of people. All the pretender’s game.

Betty’s act of sickness, their incriminatin tongues, Mary Warren’s tagalong; all a game.

The stakes are high

Whose move is it?

Children’s truths falsify.

The Black pawn moves

Who will it be?

Maybe you’re the next to die.

At last it all came down to a confrontation. Proctor, Mary Warren, Abigail, and the officials of the court. The White Royalty made their move. They had Mary Warren confess and sign to her guilt, putting the weight on Abigail. Abigail was not one to be put in a tight position. She adopted Betty’s strategy and began to “pretend” Mary Warren was sending her spirit out to destroy her in the form of a bird. Proctor and Mary Warren almost instantly began denying these signs, yet Mary Warren weakened and could not force herself to stand her ground anymore. Mary Warren, with all the chanting, screaming, and madness, ran out of the courtroom. The White Players had narrowed down to two: Proctor and Elizabeth. Checkmate.

Desperately Proctor Confessed his guilty acts with Abigail in hopes of taking her down. Apparently this could not hold water; it was his word against hers. Proctor said Elizabeth, his wife, would tell the truth. The White Queen and Black Queen in check. Elizabeth, unfortunately, wanted to save her husband’s good name but to no avail. The White Queen is out of the game. So many lies, no room for truth.

Betty, Abigail, and Mary Warren destroyed the pure. Lie against Truth. Deception versus Reality. A virtual game controlled by the players. Black Pawn versus White Pawn. Thirty-nine lives tried, only a few lived. Proctor could not give anything else but his life.


Stephen Miller, The Crucible

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