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The Crucible Essay

1091 words - 5 pages

The Crucible

This essay will discuss, explain and evaluate the main ideas, themes and interpretations of Arthur Miller’s, The Crucible. It will also explain and evaluate the language Arthur Miller uses and how it contributed to the overall success of the play.

The Crucible is set in 1692 in the puritan town of Salem, Massachusetts, a theocratic society, where the laws of the land are laid down by the church. The main idea running throughout the play can be viewed as a direct comparison to McCarthyism which was happening in 1950’s America, in which members of the general public including public figures such as Arthur Miller were brought in and questioned over connections to communism. ...view middle of the document...

Your good name is the only way you can get other people to do business with you or even get a fair hearing. Of course, reputation meant nothing when a witchcraft accusation was staring you in the face, but it is what made the Reverend Hale begin to doubt whether the accused individuals were actually guilty. Reputation had to do with religion: if you were a good and trustworthy person, you were also a good member of the church. Last but not least, it is for the sake of his reputation and his friends’ reputations that John Proctor refuses to sign a false confession. He would, quite literally, rather die.

Miller runs many differing themes throughout the play. Some example of these themes in The Crucible are that of jealously, love, greed, revenge, reputation, hysteria, intolerance, integrity and standing against the system. The events in Salem are a reminder of what can happen when people allow themselves to get carried away with a crowd. Showing that one person making false accusations about something so sinister can cause a massive panic and leave a trail of destruction. The hysteria shown in The Crucible shows how people use the situation to their advantage, seeking revenge. From this discussion so far it is clear that hysteria plays an important role of tearing apart the community of Salem by creating an environment where people act on their grudges. Almost everyone is acting on their grudges and seeking revenge. Reputation is also a key theme running throughout the play, and elements of this are shown in Proctor, Parris and Abigail. Proctor would rather be hung than have his signed confession on the door of the church, Parris is worried that the witchcraft accusations surrounding his daughter, Betty, will force him from the pulpit. Abigail in act one declares that her name is good in the village, although she lost her job working for the Proctors and no other family will take her on. One example of hysteria in The Crucible is at the end of Act One when the girls are screaming, crying and are starting to accuse the people of Salem of witchcraft and being with the devil. Obviously greed and revenge are other major...

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