Values and Morality in The Crucible by Arthur Miller

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Values and Morality in The Crucible by Arthur Miller

The Crucible by Arthur Miller raises many thought provoking issues throughout the play, including the importance of personal integrity, injustice in society and the rights of the community versus the rights of the individual.

The first, the importance of personal integrity, is brought to light through John Proctor, who finds himself facing personal conflict when making the decision of whether to lie and 'confess' to the court, saving his own life, or to tell the truth and be condemned by it. Upon first deciding to confess and live, Proctor acknowledges he has given his soul to the devil, but refuses to also tarnish his name by allowing his confession to be stuck to the door of the church.

" I have given you my soul; leave me my name."

Proctor's attempt to decide his fate is reinforced by stage directions within the script. When Proctor asks Elizabeth to help him decide his future, "He turns directly to her", creating intimacy between the characters. This is later revisited after Proctor's execution with the lighting directions describing "The new sun… pouring in on her face". Together the physical movement and lighting help to increase dramatic tension and create atmosphere.

The Crucible also brings to light the theme of injustice in society. Not only does Judge Hathorne and Deputy-Governor Danforth have no proof of the crimes other than the word of the girls, but they leave the accused no options -- they either lie to save their lives, and hence 'admit' to the crime, or they die telling the truth which will not be believed by the public anyway. Even when Reverend Hale becomes suspicious that it is a hoax and informs the court of his fears, Danforth and Hathorne ignore his pleads for extra time to investigate and continue on with how they best see the court's proceedings.

" Danforth: I will have nothing from you, Mr Hale…

Hale: I denounce these proceedings, I quit this court."

Hale slamming the door behind him intensifies his words -- he is through with the court and will never be returning again as a supporter of the court's 'justice'. The anger of Danforth and the tone of his words, "Mr Hale! Mr Hale!" also indicates the effect Hale's actions and fears will have on the court.

Finally, The Crucible also discusses the rights of the individual versus the rights of the community.
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