The Crucible by Arthur Miller

The Crucible by Arthur Miller The Crucible is a fictional retelling of events in American history surrounding the Salem witch trials of the seventeenth century, yet is as much a product of the time in which Arthur Miller wrote it, the early 1950s, as it is description of Puritan society. At that particular time in the 1950s, when Arthur Miller wrote the play the American Senator McCarthy who chaired the ‘House Un-American Activities Committee’ was very conscious of communism and feared its influence in America. It stopped authors’ writings being published in fear of them being socialist sympathisers. Miller was fascinated by the Salem Witch Trials and that human beings were capable of such madness. In the 1950s the audience would have seen the play as a parallel between the McCarthy trials and the Salem Trials. A 21st century audience would look at the play from the perspective of needless hysteria and accusations and would be amazed that human nature when put into these situations reacts the way it does in the play. In modern time we are able to appreciate the play without being concerned with the parallels of McCarthyism. Although my selected scene is only three-quarters way through the play it is very conclusive in the way that it shows the ability of the court to accept the condemnations of people looking for vengeance and the girls’ lies throughout the trials. The historical background to the play, although quite old still relates to human life and behaviour. It shows the willingness of human beings to blame anyone but themselves. It enforces the belief that humans are not ready to take responsibility for their actions and would rather find a scapegoat than be righteous. The key scene i... ... middle of paper ... ...willing to do to get her way. Only the girls, Mary and Proctor know to what extent Abigail can manipulate a situation in her favour as well as people. Even when she appeals for help from Danforth they continue to echo her. E.g. Mary: “Mr. Danforth!” Abigail and the girls: “Mr. Danforth!” This may be because Abigail does not want Mary to tell Danforth the truth and Abigail’s plot. This therefore prevents Danforth from finding out about Abigail and her manipulation of the other girls. Mary has to show great willpower to oppose Abigail; e.g. “I have no power.” In the stage directions it shows Mary summoning all her determination from within to stand up to Abigail. In this scene we can see how powerful Miller’s characters can be. Our first impression of Abigail is accurate because she is clearly capable of sending people to death to save herself.
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