The Crucible by Arthur Miller Essay

The Crucible by Arthur Miller Essay

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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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