The Crucible by Arthur Miller

Better Essays
The Crucible by Arthur Miller

"Societies often tend to suppress individual freedom in order to

maintain social order"

'Examine the key characters and their beliefs in The Crucible in the

light of this statement'

A crucible is a vessel in which metals are heated, melted down and

purified. The play 'The Crucible', by Arthur Miller shows a community,

which ignites and burns with the accusations of witchcraft, mass

hysteria and retribution.

Set in the small town of Salem Massachusetts in 1692, it explores the

struggle of one man with his conscience and his eventual purification.

A fictional play based on McCarthyism, a dark chapter in American

history. Miller uses 'The Crucible' as a mirror to reflect his views

on the anti-communist hysteria inspired by Senator Joseph McCarthy's

"witch hunts" in the U.S. Reissue. By using the historical and

controversial issue of the Salem Witch Trials, Arthur Miller's play

presents an allegory for the events in modern-day America. It exploits

these past events to criticize the moments in humankind's history when

reason and fact became clouded by unreasonable fears and the desire to

put the blame for societies dilemmas on others.

The phoney witch hysteria in Salem deteriorated the sensible, and

emotional stability of its citizens. Therefore exploiting the

population's weakest qualities and insecurities. This obvious collapse

in social order led to the tragedy, which saw twenty innocent people

hung on the allegation of witchcraft. A strict social system, fear and

confusion were apparent conditions that became prevalent before and

during the witch trials. However only contributing to th...

... middle of paper ...

... consorting with the devil. These names were given by all of the girls

present that took part in the ritual in the woods, in an attempt to

return to God and to be declared bewitched. This was a common reaction

that many had when accused of witchery. The clear destruction of

Salem's social order was due to fear of the unknown, and mass


The inclination that Salem fell victim to, was the cause of a great

tragedy, which saw twenty townspeople hung at the hands of the state.

The Crucible written by Arthur Miller is a story of a great

catastrophe which highlights a "free man's courageous and never-ending

fight against mass pressures to make him bow down in

conformity"(intro. -x) and shows how hysteria can be used for evil

purposes in an atmosphere were there is a belief in freedom and right

of disagreement.
Get Access