Values and Morality in The Crucible by Arthur Miller

Values and Morality in The Crucible by Arthur Miller

Length: 775 words (2.2 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
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.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Values and Morality in The Crucible by Arthur Miller." 123HelpMe.com. 16 Dec 2019
    <https://www.123helpme.com/view.asp?id=132027>.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Crucible by Arthur Miller Essays

- In examining popular, tragedy-style theater pieces, it becomes apparent that human morality is a prevalent theme, as it consistently appears throughout various stories. William Shakespeare’s notable play Macbeth, to provide an exemplar, contains such a matter; the literary masterpiece explores the issues of guilt, and the loss of one’s integrity. A perfect display of these conflicts occurs in Act III, scene IV, during which Macbeth struggles with the realisation that he has become a murderer, and will remain forever bound to his crimes: "I am in blood /Stepp'd in so far, that, should I wade no more,/Returning were as tedious as go o'er" (Macbeth, III, IV, 24-36) Macbeth reveals his feelings...   [tags: tragedy, human morality, shakespeare]

Research Papers
1875 words (5.4 pages)

The Crucible By Arthur Miller Essay

- If doing the right thing meant going against everything you believed in, would you do it. In Arthur Miller’s the Crucible many characters have to decide whether to do what they believe in or whether to act solely on their harsh Puritan teachings. Courage and integrity are displayed throughout the Crucible to show that even in times of hysterical fear and scathing accusations people still have the power to be virtuous. Within the theme of courage and integrity three characters stand out showing incredible morality: Reverend Hale, John Proctor, and Elizabeth Proctor....   [tags: The Crucible, Salem witch trials, John Proctor]

Research Papers
1032 words (2.9 pages)

Essay on American Values and Success in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman

- American Values and Success in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman    The purpose of this brief essay is to examine Arthur Miller's play, Death of a Salesman, with respect to its reflection of the impact of American values and mores as to what constitutes "success" upon individual lives. George Perkins has stated that this play has been described as "possibly the best play ever written by an American (Perkins, p. 710)." The play marks a brilliant fusion of the ideas and problems central to Miller's artistic and creative life; among those problems are the relationship of selfishness to altruism and the need to define an achievable code of morality for oneself (Perkins, p....   [tags: Death Salesman essays]

Research Papers
1177 words (3.4 pages)

Essay Tragedy of a Common Man in Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller

- A tragic hero brings his own demise upon himself due to a crippling character flaw. Willy Loman from “Death of a Salesman” by Arthur Miller satisfies the criteria for a tragic hero because his pride leads to his downfall. Despite not being a man of high estate, Willy’s readiness to “lay down his life” (miller criticism) makes him a prime example of a modern tragic hero. Willy’s pride inhibits the success of his family by feeding his egotistical nature, idealism, and false value system. Willy eventually addresses these negative traits he possesses and sacrifices himself for his family, thus satisfying Death of a Salesman as a tragic play....   [tags: pride, downfall, family, idealism, false]

Research Papers
802 words (2.3 pages)

How Miller Presents Joe Keller as a Tragic Hero in All My Sons Essay

- How Miller Presents Joe Keller as a Tragic Hero in All My Sons Joe Keller is a man who loves and values his family very much. Like most Americans he has given everything so he can have the big house, the fancy car and the bulging wallet. He has given everything so he can have the American Dream. Unfortunately for Keller, everything isn't as perfect as it seems. "All My Sons" is a very tragic play. It shows how a man can sacrifice everything including the honour of his name to make his family prosperous....   [tags: All My Sons Arthur Miller Essays]

Research Papers
1451 words (4.1 pages)

Human Failings in The Crucible by Arthur Miller Essay

- Arthur Miller writes about the tragic results of human failings in his play, The Crucible. He presents characters from the past and infuses them with renewed vitality and color. Miller demonstrates the horrifying results of succumbing to personal motives and flaws as he writes the painful story of the Salem witch trials. Not only do the trials stem from human failings but also from neglect of moral and religious considerations of that time. Characters begin to overlook Puritan values of thrift and hope for salvation....   [tags: Essay on The Crucible]

Research Papers
1119 words (3.2 pages)

An Analytical Essay Explaining Why Arthur Miller Wrote The Crucible

- An Analytical Essay Explaining Why Arthur Miller Wrote The Crucible Authors often have underlying reasons for giving their stories certain themes or settings. Arthur Miller’s masterpiece, The Crucible, is a work of art inspired by actual events as a response to political and moral issues. Set in Salem, Massachusetts in 1692, The Crucible proves to have its roots in events of the 1950’s and 1960’s, such as the activities of the House Un-American Committee and the “Red Scare.” Though the play provides an accurate account of the Salem witch trials, its real achievement lies in the many important issues of Miller’s time that it dealswith....   [tags: Essay on The Crucible]

Free Essays
740 words (2.1 pages)

Death Of A Salesman By Arthur Miller Essay

- Author and Era: Death of a Salesman, the “first great American Tragedy,” is a 1949 play written by American playwright Arthur Miller. Miller is known for being a true activist, supporting and participating in many liberal issues, including the civil rights struggle and the protest against the Vietnam War. The basis for Death of a Salesman lies in Arthur Miller’s relationship with his uncle Manny Newman, a salesman. Miller expresses Manny’s emotions through Willy Loman, the main protagonist. In successfully doing so, Miller has been deemed an American who understands the true nature and values of the United States (Bloom)....   [tags: Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller]

Research Papers
1292 words (3.7 pages)

Miller's Values in Death Of A Salesman Essay

- Values and Attitudes of the Author The way fiction texts begin and end provides a clear indication of the dominant values and attitudes supported by the author Values and attitudes that the author supports are often reflected in their writing, whether it be in the themes that are involved in the story, or the way it begins and ends. The author adopts a particular point of view and uses that point of view throughout the story to influence and impact readers and viewers. This is most often done through effective use of characterisation....   [tags: Arthur Miller]

Free Essays
1873 words (5.4 pages)

Essay on Death Of A Salesman Annotated Bibliography

- Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman" reflects the numerous issues post-war United States was dealing with during the late 1940's when it was written. Death of a Salesman was written and published in 1949, when the United States was booming with new economic capabilities and new found power, resulting in a golden age regardless of the growing tensions of the threat of communist invasion. Racial violence and the escalating issues regarding the deluded American dream that was turning out to be quite different than that which our founding fathers had originally idealized....   [tags: Miller Death Salesman]

Free Essays
1490 words (4.3 pages)

This theme is first seen in the discussion between Reverend Parris, John Proctor and Giles Corry over Parris' present salary.
" Proctor: Mr Parris, you are the first minister ever did demand the deed
to this house --
Parris: Man! Doesn't a minister deserve a house to live in?
Proctor: To live in, yes. But to ask ownership is like you shall own the
(communities') meeting house itself."
This demonstration of Parris' greed and demands for individual possessions over the community's rights to them is also strengthened through the use of props, in particular Parris' gold candlesticks. These candlesticks show the audience that while Parris is the minister of a Puritan society, he does not follow his own preaching, demanding the best and most extravagant items available for his individual use.


In Diving for Pearls by Katherine Thomson, the themes of personal integrity, society versus the individual and personal relationships are all discussed. The theme of personal integrity is brought up through Den and his refusal of the redundancy package. While Barbara and Ron do not understand what Den is doing, "Ron: You want to know what your choices are? You either take the money and go. Or go. By the time you wake up to yourself their cheque book'll be well and truly shut", Den insists that this is the right thing to do.
"Den: I won't take the package. I won't take the money… It's a payment
to be quiet. To go out on tip-toes."
The despair and futility felt by the characters, in particular by Den, is reinforced in the stage directions -- "He (Den) flings the shovel down to Ron."

The theme of society and the individual is also examined in this incident. Den seems to think that refusing the package will be an attack on those responsible for shutting the steel works, and give him the opportunity to speak out against them, however Ron and Barbara think that all Den will succeed in doing is loosing the money he needs, and make little if any impact of those responsible. Den's insignificance as an individual against society and industrialisation is also highlighted through the use of symbolism, in particular the tuba, signifying the working class of the past and present and the life of Den's father.

The importance of personal relationships is also disputed throughout Diving for Pearls. There are many disfunctional relationships, none of which except for Verge and Den are based on communication. A good example of this is the relationship between Marge and Barbara, who are continually trying to undermine each other by each attempting to appear to be a better person and lead a happier and more successful life. In doing this, Marge and Barbara use Verge and Den as toys, each attempting to have more power and influence on them than the other.
The facial expression of the actors and the tone of their voices also help to demonstrate the competitiveness and bitterness between the sisters.
" She only has to look sideways at Barbara and Barbara is deflated."


Both The Crucible and Diving for Pearls are theatrical and thought provoking, despite using different methods to do so.
The Crucible relies more on physical action, character complexity and development and dramatic tension while Diving for Pearls uses more symbolism, everyday characters and genuine dialogue. Regardless however, of which play is being viewed, each play succeeds in being good entertainment offering the audience an experience that is both theatrical and thought provoking.
Return to 123HelpMe.com