As history has shown us, the injustices that occurred during the Salem Witch Trials continue to go on. Most obviously by the HUAC in America at the time of Miller’s The Crucible. We see parallels between the Salem Witch Trials and other issues even today. Most recently, the military wanted to discharge any gay men in service. These kind of injustices will always exist. The Crucible addresses the idea of a group of select people choosing another group for a scapegoat to a supposedly determined “problem” that exists. This is yet another reason why The Crucible should be considered to be great drama.
Fear also played an important role in The Crucible. The girls were afraid of being accused as witches themselves, so they started accusing other people in the town of being witches. Moreover, many people who were accused of being witches confessed to being witches because they were scared of death. People who confessed to witchcraft and dealing with the devil only stayed in the jail for a short time while others who refused to give in were hanged. Towards the end of the play, Abigail and Mercy ran away with huge amounts of money because they were afraid that if the authorities found out that they were lying they would be punished severely.
At the time when The Crucible was first being performed something was taking place that was very alike the Salem Witch Trials. In Hollywood, the House Un-American Activities Committee was investigating the film industry for communist activities. Actors, writers, and directors were interrogated as to whether or not they had involved themselves in any kind of relations with the Communist Party. If people didn’t readily conform to the HUAC’s line of questioning, and answer their questions regardless of whether or not they were deemed intrusive or not, it was assumed that they had been involved with the Communist Party. It was thought that the Communists were trying to gain control of the American film industry for propaganda purposes. As a result, those individuals that were thought to be in any way associated with the Communists were blacklisted in Hollywood and could no longer work there.
One example of this is when Mary Warren accuses John Proctor of being the Devil's man: when push comes to shove, she is not strong enough to tell the truth (Act 3, p. 110). With John Proctor, on the other hand, we find that his true inner self is strong enough stand up for truth. First, his upstanding reputation is melted away (when he confesses to adultery) and Procto is revealed as a hypocrite; at the end of The Crucible, though, a second, stronger core is exposed when Proctor chooses to be hanged as a witch rather than falsely (and publicly) confess to witchcraft.
FREE Essay on Themes of "The Crucible" by Arthur Miller
This line is a reference to the name of the play, The Crucible. A crucible is used to melt down metals and separate out the base metals - or in the case of those questioned about witchcraft, it separates out lies and hypocrisy. There's more true to this statement than Danforth knows, however; not only do the trials melt down the fronts people have put up, but they also expose people's core selves.
Essay: Conformity in the Crucible, Theme Essay - Online Essays
Miller's portrayal of women in The Crucible is a much-discussed topic. The attitudes towards women in the 1950s, when the play was written, are evident in the roles they're given. The most substantial female character is Abigail, who is portrayed as a devious and highly sexualized young woman. She is cast as a villain. Then, on the other end of the spectrum, we have Rebecca Nurse. She is a sensible, saintly old woman who chooses to martyr herself rather than lie and confess to witchcraft. The other two main female characters, Elizabeth and Mary Warren, are somewhat bland. Elizabeth is defined by her relationship to John, and Mary is pushed around by other characters (mostly men) throughout the play. The Crucible presents a view of women that essentially reduces them to caricatures of human beings that are defined by their roles as mothers, wives, and servants to men. Abigail, the one character who breaks from this mold slightly, is portrayed extremely unsympathetically despite the fact that the power dynamic between her and John makes him far more culpable in their illicit relationship.
Deception is a major driving force in The Crucible. This includes not only accusatory lies about the involvement of others in witchcraft but also the lies that people consistently tell about their own virtuousness and purity in such a repressive society. The turmoil in Salem is propelled forward by desires for revenge and power that have been simmering beneath the town's placid exterior. There is a culture of keeping up appearances already in place, which makes it natural for people to lie about witnessing their neighbors partaking in Satanic rituals when the opportunity arises (especially if it means insulating themselves from similar accusations and even achieving personal gain). The Crucible provides an example of how convenient lies can build on one another to create a universally accepted truth even in the absence of any real evidence.
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In the opening of Act One of “The Crucible”, Arthur Miller clearly establishes that this play is about the period in American history known as the Salem witch trials. Much has been made, however, out of the historical moment in which Arthur Miller wrote the play—the McCarthy era—and it has been argued that The Crucible was Miller’s attempt to come to terms with and understand contemporary social dynamics. If you agree that The Crucible is a cautionary tale, identify what it cautions the reader against, and how it suggests that society avert or prevent such a fate. State whether you agree that The Crucible is a timeless tale, or whether you think will fade over time.