The Crucible, A Dry White Season Essay

The Crucible, A Dry White Season Essay

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Arthur Miller’s play, The Crucible (1953) and the film, A Dry White Season (1989), directed by Euzhan Palcy allude to historical events of their time, in order to portray the impact of repressive political ideologies, thus supporting the idea that representation is used to shape meaning within a text and provoke respondents. The dramatisation of the Salem witch trials by Miller is used to represent the totalitarianism of Puritan theocracy and the impact of this on individuals and the community. In a similar way, Palcy delineates the tyrannical nature of the South African apartheid government and its implications, challenging respondents to question authoritative governments.

In The Crucible, Miller represents the Salem witch trials as the sentencing of marginalised individuals, to convey the notion that repressive societies breed corruption. The metaphoric language, “…lying lessons I was taught by all these Christian women…” alludes to the repressive nature of the Puritan society, as its strict ways has provoked a culture of lying and deceit, which ultimately lead to the actions of the witch trials. Through this, Miller criticises totalitarian, repressive societies and their negative impact on individuals and the community, as truth is subverted. The use of biblical language and legal jargon, “…the law and Bible damn all bearers of false witness”, represents Danforth’s personality, as he is selective in what he deems as true, allowing the corrupt ways of the court and deceit to continue, rather than using his power to seek justice. This emphasises the destructive nature of a repressive society, as it becomes the foundation of corruption. The metaphoric language linking to the motif of the crucible, “we burn a hot fire here; it me...


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...sive ideologies of society. The paradoxical statement, “No one can be free until all are free” represents the political motivations of du Toit, as he expresses the necessity for equity and tolerance in order for justice to prevail. Moreover, the climatic death of du Toit parallels that of Proctor, as he dies in his attempt to save those who were exploited by the corrupt justice system. This is symbolic of power of du Toit in subverting the suppressive dogma of society, as it had a significant impact on the previous lack of integrity in society.

The Crucible by Arthur Miller and A Dry White Season, directed by Euzhan Palcy portray tyrannical government systems. Through the representations of these societies, the texts convey the consequences of totalitarian government systems and their ideologies on individuals and communities, provoking and challenging respondents.

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