The Importance of The Crucible Today

1066 Words3 Pages

The Crucible was written in the early 1950s as an exploration of events which took place in Massachusetts in 1692. What does the play have to offer an audience in 2014? The Crucible is a play which brings to our attention many timeless issues. The nature of good and evil, power and its corruption, honour and integrity and our tendency to create scapegoats for all manner of problems are all brought up through the course of the play - sometimes in very dramatic fashion. One of the subjects on which Miller commented was that of the notion that there is only pure, white goodness and cruel, unbending evil. In the play he shows us how people chase what they think is evil, (For example: not going to church, not knowing the Commandments, etc.) persecuting basically good people while the truly evil escape and are even seen as the innocent victims. The people of Salem condemned many based on the few things that were considered 'ungodly' and since they committed one sin, then it was assumed that they were committing many others. They were condemned because they did not follow the exact 'rules' in their society which 'defined' who was good and who was evil. The people who followed the 'rules' were in turn deemed 'good', the nature of their true character being basically irrelevant. This is relevant to our time because history has shown us that it has happened before, for example, McCarthyist America where all communists were bad, all capitalists good, or in Nazi Germany - Jews were evil and were to be persecuted while all Aryans were good. In fact, McCarthyism was an underlying factor behind Miller writing the play. In those cases, evil was not the people who committed the real atrocities, but those who did not conform to the rules of their society, as was the case in Salem. Even now, many communists are condemned straight away because of their ideologies, even though their intentions are in many ways good. The Crucible is also a study of honour and integrity. Most people have a conscience - the inner sense of morality which steers us towards what we think is right. However, in times of public strife, the conscience takes a back seat to what is expected of us. It takes a strong conscience to know when you are right and say so, even in the face of overwhelming opposition.

Open Document