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Arthur Millers The Crucible.

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Introduction

Arthur Miller demonstrates the familiarities of the life he lived in the 1950's and of everyday life we live in through his plays. He communicates through his work to the way people are in society. The extreme witch hysteria deteriorated the rational and emotional stability of its citizens. This exploited the population's weakest qualities, and insecurities. The obvious breakdown in social order led to the tragedy that saw innocent souls hang on the accusation of witchcraft. Miller's way of writing plays which relate to our lives and the way in which we do things and treat one another is very interesting. He seems to see the world a different way to most people and expresses our everyday actions and the things we do wrong in another form. The audience should see parallels in the play to happenings in our every day life. The Crucible was written in the middle of the McCarthy political "witch-hunt" in America. The play relates to the fears in America that the philosophy of communism was spreading there and would eventually undermine and destroy capitalism and the American way of life. Almost any criticism the government received, in the eyes of McCarthy was not acceptable. A petition for communist sympathisers was set up in which Miller signed. He was asked to confess to signing his name. He quoted: "In truth, I had supported these various causes to express my fear of fascism and my alienation from the waste of potential in America while knowing nothing about life under any socialist regime" The activities seemed to have been linked in Millers mind with witchcraft trials two centuries ago. ...read more.

Middle

Hale insists that she be put to trial and the decision is taken. On the other hand, Abigail herself had realized she had taken it to far and when John told of his happenings with her in front of the council with her present she fled Salem overnight. Councilors: Danforth, Hathorne and Parris, knowing of their mistakes, unbelievably force themselves to commit to continuing the trials to find someone else guilty in order to keep their respect in the community. They were known as accurate prosecutors and the fact that their main suspect had disappeared, they would be too embarrassed to reveal such a thing, even though they were sending more than ten innocent people to be hanged everyday. Miller gives us the impression that the prosecutors were totally evil, monsters rather than human beings. Critics of the play have complained that Miller over-emphasised the malice and overall cruelty of the Crucible. He assures critics that his representation of the councilors was under-emphasised and where shown In the Crucible more human than the records showed. The councilor's decisions to continue the trials are in someway similar to Proctors dilemma. The council refuses to admit to their wrongs to save their respect. Just as Proctor had refused to let his secret of adultery be let out in danger of losing his good name. Miller uses this to communicate to the audience how certain people live like this and treat other people in society. ...read more.

Conclusion

Human psychology is such that to become involved in something, we have to be able to relate to it, in the case of a play, the situations portrayed and the reactions of the characters. Therefore they have to be true to life. This is one of the reasons Miler's play is so successful. I also think that the fact that it is based on history, the story is true to time and the story is kept historical even through the language, which adds fascination. The violence in the play is shocking, mentally and physically; it even makes us reflect after the play has finished. I think Miller is trying to make us think about morality, group mentality, Puritanism, good/bad and self-interest. The play includes interesting messages about how reasonable individuals can become completely irrational and get carried away when they become part of a mob. But in the end, who is to blame? Puritanism, Abigail or Danforth? The play is deliberately complex and multi-faceted, and not in plain and simple black and white, even though the characters themselves are black and white. In my opinion everyone's to blame, If one person would have seen sense or not added to problem or admitted it was a hoax it would have never happened. If Abigail hadn't added to the story it wouldn't have happened. If Judge Danforth hadn't of been so single-minded he would have seen through straight through Abigail's sweet and innocent routine, and so on. But at the end as in many situations in our own lives no one is completely to blame. Very rarely is anything one person's fault. ...read more.

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