The Crucible by Arthur Miller

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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 confusion. 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.

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