The Crucible by Arthur Miller Essay

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The Crucible by Arthur Miller

Arthur Miller was an American playwright who was born in 1915. He
grew up in New York to a Jewish family. He graduated from the
University of Michigan in 1938 where he began to distinguish himself
as a playwright. His first plays were Honors at Dawn (1936) and No
Villain (1937) which won the University of Michigan Hopwood Awards.
His Death of a Salesman won the Pulitzer prize in 1949. Miller wrote
The Crucible in 1953 during the McCarthy period when Americans were
accusing each other of Pro-Communist beliefs. Many of Miller’s
friends were being attacked as communists and in 1956, Miller himself
was brought before the House of Un-American Activities Committee where
he was found guilty of beliefs in communism. The verdict was reversed
in 1957 in an appeals court. Miller married Marylin Monroe in 1956
but divorced her in 1961.

The Crucible is set against the backdrop of the mad witch hunts of
the Salem witch trials in the late 17th century. It is about a town,
after accusations from a few girls, which begins a mad hunt for
witches that did not exist. Many townspeople were hanged on charges
of witchcraft. Miller brings out the absurdity of the incident with
the theme of truth and righteousness. The theme is conveyed through
the struggles of Miller’s main character, John Proctor.


Act one begins with Reverend Parris praying over her daughter, Betty
Parris, who lies unconscious on her bed. Through conversations
between Reverend Parris and his niece Abigail Williams, and between
several girls, the audience learns that these girls, including Abigail
and Betty, were engaged in occultic activities in the forest lead by
Tituba, Parris’ slave from Barbados. Parris caug...

... middle of paper ...

... became more pure than
the common Puritans, dying as a martyr like the original apostles. He
learned what truth meant through his suffering.

Through Proctor’s struggle, Miller displays the struggles within each
of our own hearts. Many times we have witnessed some wrong happening
to some other person and wished not to get involved. However,
sometimes, like Proctor, there might be something that forces us in.
Would we be quit after only saving our wife like Proctor could have
done, or would we go for the entire community as Proctor did?


The story reminds its readers of an ugly blemish on human history.
It reminds us that man is not perfect, and that we can make mistakes.
However, even with these mistakes, we can cleanse ourselves and purify
ourselves by making what is wrong right. The sufferings become to the
sufferer like a crucible.

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