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Comparing the two plays 'The Crucible' and 'Little Malcolm And His Struggle Against The Eunuchs'.

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Introduction

Part 1 I am comparing the two plays 'The Crucible' and 'Little Malcolm And His Struggle Against The Eunuchs'. Arthur Miller wrote 'The Crucible' in 1953, at the time of McCarthyism. 'Little Malcolm' was written by David Halliwell in 1964. 'The Crucible' was set before it was written; however 'Little Malcolm' was set around the time it was written. 'The Crucible' is set in 1692, Salem, Massachusetts. There is a general theme of suspicion, as the Salem witch trials were what was happening at the time, and show how the suspicion and superstition led to constant accusations and harsh punishments. This idea stemmed from the original stimulus of the McCarthy communist persecutions, as does the idea of 'naming names' to get off the hook. It was written as an allegory; Miller would not have gotten away with writing a play openly on the political affairs of the time, due to censorship laws. He himself had been in front of the 'House of Un-American Activities Committee' (H.U.A.C.), an organisation who demanded that anyone who had attended a communist meeting had to name anyone who they had seen there. This is shown when Betty and Abigail are saying 'I saw... with the Devil'. Another likeness is the strict Puritan morals of 1692, and strict American morals in 1953. The 'Aliens Act' was an issue at the time, an anti-immigrant law made by President Truman. 'Little Malcolm' was both written and set in 1964. ...read more.

Middle

This scene is quite ironic, as Malcolm calls Nipple 'deluded', 'mad', and a 'fantasist', which is clear hypocrisy; of the group, Malcolm is the least realistic, and is clearly a fantasist. In the scenes which follow, Malcolm's infatuation with Ann Gedge takes a darker turn, when he orders his cronies to beat her up with him, purely for a personal sense of power, to build up his self-esteem. As the play transpires, Malcolm's acolytes abandon him, as they are more realistic than him. He is then left alone to plot one final fruitless plan, in a desperate attempt to recover a part of his original ideas. There are quite a few similarities between the plots and characters of these plays. Both have quite dark, sinister endings; in 'The Crucible', characters like Goody Nurse and John Proctor are hanged, and in 'Little Malcolm' Ann Gedge is beaten up, and eventually Malcolm is abandoned by his co-'revolutionaries' when they see sense. A clear-cut similarity is the whole idea of the 'trial', where Malcolm is similar to Danforth in his role; he is quite a short-tempered character and is also quite a sinister character. Wick is slightly similar to Judge Hathorne, but there are few links between the characters; whereas Judge Hathorne tries to be impartial and fair, Wick is trying to prosecute Nipple, and takes a more active role in the trial. Nipple can be clearly likened to Proctor, as he is falsely accused of something; Proctor for witchcraft, Nipple for 'being in league with the Forces of World Eunarchy'. ...read more.

Conclusion

During the dialogue, I will react to things that the other characters say, looking around nervously, hunching my shoulders and keeping my head down. I will occasionally look from side to side, and keep my hands close to my chest. My eyes will also be quite wide, and my eyebrows slightly raised. During the speech, I will keep the same nervous posture but use expansive hand gestures to articulate ideas, as I am not verbally eloquent, and am struggling to remember the names of lies. After the speech, I will react with shock at Malcolm's outbursts by widening my eyes and raising my eyebrows. My lower jaw will be slightly loose, but not dropping very low like a caricature-style expression. I will be unmoving, with a 'set face' as directed in the script, until it fades out. The themes of 'The Crucible' were of fear, suspicion and paranoia. A central point was the 'naming of names'. It was written to be a realistic or naturalistic play; this means that it is designed to accurately mimic real life on the stage, rather than using symbolism. This is because of there are many props referred to in the text, and no ideas of symbolism or miming props are mentioned. In the script, there are mentions of actions such as 'knocking on doors' which are written in a way that implies that Arthur Miller wanted real wooden doors to be used on stage. Evidence such as this suggests that ideally for the playwright, this should be performed as a naturalistic play, and not as a stylistic play. ...read more.

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