Arthur Miller's The Crucible

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Context: This part of the text is included at the beginning of the drama, telling the audience about Salem and its people. The author explains how a theocracy would lead to a tragedy like the Salem witch-hunts. This is the initial setting and is based on the principle that some people should be included and some excluded from society, according to their religious beliefs and their actions. This is basically the idea that religious passion, taken to extremes, results in tragedy. Miller is saying that even today extremes end up bad- communism, like strict puritans, was restrictive and extreme. It only made people suffer.
Afraid of communism, Americans looked for “hidden” communists, just like the secret “witches”. He was also speaking to his 1950s audience here by explaining the paradox today: “It is a paradox in whose grip we still live […].” “Keeping the community together” also refers to Americans in the 1950s when the government tried to purify America from communism in order to keep Americans “together”.

Response: I think that neither communism nor puritanism are good, because both of them are restrictive in many ways- anyone who comes out of the set frames becomes guilty. This can only lead to trouble. It is so banal to say that by purifying a nation, people would stay together. I think the point should be to make people have different opinions, but not allow extreme actions such as communism.

Context: This comment can be found in the l Act, where Miller explains the theocratic nature of Salem’s society. In Salem heresy was punishable by prison or death. Just like in Salem, lack of patriotism in the U.S. automatically made people think of communists. When people were being accused with no evidence to back the claim, even the...

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...n whether to confess to witchcraft or not. His unwillingness to sign his name to the confession is because of his desire not to dishonor his fellow prisoners’ decisions to stand firm.
Proctor concentrates on his name, because it would be destroyed of he signs. He finally comes to a true understanding of what a good reputation means, and his defense of his name enables him to muster the courage to die heroically.
This shows us how important reputation and good name were back then.
But even in the 1950s people wanted to keep their good name. That’s why people were afraid og being accused in communism.

Response: This sentence is my favorite and was the one which stayed in my mind long after I was done with the book. It is very emotional and shows us how important a persons name is and how we shouldn’t attach false statements to it, because we cannot really change it.

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