Comparing The Crucible and Salem Witch Trials

analytical Essay
1432 words
1432 words

The purpose of my paper is to compare and contrast Arthur Miller’s The Crucible with the actual witch trials that took place in Salem in the 17th Century. Although many of the characters and events in the play were non-fictional, many details were changed by the playwright to add intrigue to the story. While there isn’t one specific cause or event that led to the Salem witch trials, it was a combination of events and factors that contributed to the birth and growth of the trials. Some of these events included: a small pox outbreak that was happening at the time, the revocation of the Massachusetts Bay Colony charter by Charles II, and the constant fear of Native attacks. These helped in creating anxiety among the early Puritans that they were being punished by God himself. Arthur Miller was born on October 17, 1915, to Isidore and Augusta Barnett Miller. He was born into a family in which his mother was a teacher and his father, a prosperous manufacturer. He was not the greatest student (having failed Algebra three times) but instead was more interested in athletics during his teenage years. Having lost all of the family fortunes in the Stock Market Crash of 1929, after high school, Arthur went to work in a warehouse dealing with automobile parts. It was there that he picked up a copy of The Brothers Karamazov which influenced him into becoming a writer. A few years later, he was accepted to the University of Michigan where he majored in Journalism. During his time in college, Miller wrote many plays which, in turn, he won awards for. His first play “The Man Who Had All the Luck” opened in Broadway in 1944 but, unfortunately, was short lived. Then in 1953, The Crucible opened on Broadway. While the play did focus on the W... ... middle of paper ... ... and biologically to explain the “bewitchment” of the young girls. They have come up with three basic psychological approaches when analyzing the trials: sexual repression in the Puritan communities in New England, the low status of women (they did in fact, have no say in matters, and men were thought of as much more intelligent), and the lack of opportunity for any sort of entertainment. Other scholars believe that the “diet of Salem villagers at that time might well have led to calcium deficiency, which is known to cause spasms and “hysterical” states”1 and that the claims that they were visited or choked by the accused witches could be linked to a condition known as sleep paralysis. But all these theories also lead to the question: Is it possible that every girl in this group suffered from sleep paralysis? Or could some of them have possibly been faking it?

In this essay, the author

  • Compares and contrasts arthur miller's the crucible with the actual witch trials that took place in salem in the 17th century.
  • Explains that arthur miller was born on october 17, 1915, to isidore and augusta barnett miller. he was interested in athletics during his teenage years.
  • Narrates how miller won awards for his plays, including "the man who had all the luck" and the crucible, which focused on the witch trials of salem.
  • Analyzes how miller observes the tremendous forces that mere accusation had at this time, something that was evident as well in the mccarthy witch-hunts. a man’s career could be ruined if he were asked, “are you now or have you ever been a member of the communist party?”
  • Narrates how miller was denied a passport by the state department when he planned to attend the opening of his play in brussels. he was called before representative francis walter’s committee on un-american activities and was found guilty of contempt.
  • Narrates how john proctor confesses to witchcraft in the crucible to save himself.
  • Analyzes how the events in the crucible have been changed to add intrigue to the story. the fate of each character is exactly that of his historical model.
  • Explains that the parris family is the town's minister and the father of betty and abigail’s uncle.
  • Analyzes how we are misled when it comes to tituba, who appears to be a single slave and confesses quickly when accused.
  • Opines that john proctor is the character who refuses to "out" his accomplices and is one of the final people to be hung in the salem witch trials.
  • Analyzes how miller portrays proctor as a young farmer who is happily married to his first wife elizabeth and has two young sons.
  • Analyzes how reverend parris catches the group of young girls and tituba dancing in the forest.
  • Analyzes how tituba was accused of witchcraft by both abigail and betty. the girls would throw violent, physical tantrums.
  • Analyzes how scholars have explored all possibilities both psychologically and biologically to explain the "bewitchment" of the young girls in salem in the 17th century.
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