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Arthur Miller’s presentation of John Proctor’s ‘moral journey’.

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Introduction

ENGLISH LITERATURE COURSEWORK ASSIGNMENT THE CRUCIBLE Arthur Miller's presentation of John Proctor's 'moral journey'. It is mentioned in the Old Testament (Exodus 22:18), "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live." It was on the authority of this one sentence in the Bible that 19 witches were hanged in Salem in 1692. To Arthur Miller, the McCarthy Hearings bore an alarming resemblance to the trials in Salem in 1692. The Crucible was his way of trying to keep history from repeating itself. McCarthy claimed America was in great danger from a Communist conspiracy to take over the world, and the people of Salem had similar views on Witchcraft. No one missed the parallels between 1692 Salem and 1953 America. But, many said, "Witches never did exist, then or now. Communists are real." Some critics complained that the play was too cold and intellectual. Others said it wasn't a play at all, but some kind of outburst, a political speech. Moral- of or relating to character and human behaviour, particularly as regards to right and wrong. Journey- a travelling or going from one place to another. Everybody, including John Proctor, has morals. They are an essential distinction of character. Everybody's morals will differ, as it is your individual opinion of right and wrong. ...read more.

Middle

Juxtaposed with Elizabeth's negative perception of Proctor's sins it is visibly demonstrated that Miller is deliberately making things hard for Proctor. It seems that Miller is 'out to get' Proctor just as much as Parris is and throughout the whole play Miller is constantly showing and presenting scenes and situations in a thorny complexion for Proctor that maximises every opportunity to emphasise his problems with temptation and the moral dilemma that this creates for the, as Miller would present, 'fallen' man. Through the main characters the pattern of The Crucible unfolds. The characters in The Crucible can be divided by factions into three groups: i. Established figures ii. Citizens iii. Outsiders The established figures in the play are characters like Paris and Putnam. It is known that the citizens of Salem, including Proctor, have many grievances against them and one way to describe them would be neurotic. Through their wealth and attitude they maintain authority and they are always quick to blame others for unfavourable circumstances. The Citizens of Salem are characters like Rebecca Nurse who have earned their money; these people feel that the community should look to themselves for the causes of the situation. Hale is an outsider as he does not live in Salem, and this allows him to judge each case from a neutral perspective without any grievances or partiality. ...read more.

Conclusion

Proctor finally loses sight of his relationship with Elizabeth through his courageous death. He was innocent of the crime he died for but was guilty none the less. This creates confusion as to weather Proctor accepts guilt and the man has a final sense of unworthiness but does not want to confess to the wrong sins and refuses to name anyone else. By refusing to publish a lie, and instead go to death he finally saves himself, he is not as bad as he thought and proves that he does still have pride. Elizabeth sums up the situation in saying, "He have his goodness now", suggesting that he is good to undertake such an act. The indecisive was decisive and the true Proctor came through above and through the self-doubt and loathing. At the end of the play, Hale decides to attempt to convince those wrongly charged of witchcraft to confess to witchcraft to avoid the noose, even though this goes against what he has always thought and believed. There is therefore a contrast between the two men. One takes the right path in an effort to preserve his integrity and righteousness, while the other chooses the path of darkness in order to preserve those whom he does not wish to see perish simply because of an inept system of justice. The play ran for a few months, playing to almost empty houses. Then it closed. But the witch-hunt went on. Charlie Tutt 11PT. 1 30/04/07 - Charlie Tutt ...read more.

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