The Crucible By Arthur Miller Essay

The Crucible By Arthur Miller Essay

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Throughout The Crucible, author Arthur Miller uses dramatic conflict, metaphor, imagery, descriptive staging instructions, biblical allusion and a variety of other representational techniques to illuminate and develop the issues surrounding people and politics throughout the play. Such issues include the characterisation and portrayal of those in power; the driving motivations of a range of characters; the means through which characters achieve and maintain power; and how the role of power differences in relationships between characters. The use of these devices within an extended metaphor for the 1950’s context of US McCarthyism allows Miller to demonstrate the relatively stagnant nature of people and politics (in that a situation within the seventeenth century may closely resemble that of the mid twentieth century). The discourse regarding power, motivations and politics is also addressed in the 2013 television series Orphan Black.
The township of Salem, Massachusetts was built upon Puritan Christian traditions and expectations. “They believed, in short, that they held in their steady hands thee candle that would light the world.” Laws were derived from scripture, as “indicated by the practice of appointing a two-man patrol” who carry the job of reporting those who do not attend church or who break the Sabbath. The innate certainty and faith in this theocracy is observed in the judges Hathorne and Danforth, who consider themselves appointed by God to deal justice. Deputy Governor Danforth deals in absolutes, stating that “A person is either with this court or he must be counted against it” (believing that no innocent man should have reason to fear “the highest court of the supreme government of this province”, which he sees as ...


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...biblical allusion), dramatic conflict and other representational techniques such as staging, juxtaposition and contrast to highlight and develop key concerns and issues regarding People and Politics, such as the motivations of individuals; the representation of those in power; the importance of understanding one’s belief system and how they are tied to actions and judgement; how power is achieved and maintained by certain characters through cunning manipulation of hysteria; and how the flawed but basically moral tragic protagonist helps Arthur Miller connect to a 1950’s context and audience. Careful consideration of both staging as a performed play and reading as a commentated play or novel determines meaning, and indeed Miller’s commentary makes the intended meaning behind thee meaning communicated through his stage directions very clear both to audience and reader.

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