• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Compare and Contrast the presentation of a puritan society in Arthur Miller's 'The Crucible' and Celia Rees' 'Witch Child'

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Compare and Contrast the presentation of a puritan society in Arthur Miller's 'The Crucible' and Celia Rees' 'Witch Child' In the sixteenth century, a group of English protestant who practised a more strictly disciplined Christian lifestyle were named Puritans; they immigrated to Salem also called New England in the purpose to establish a society of their own after suffering from religious persecution in England. Arthur Miller's play The Crucible and Celia Rees's novel Witch Child are both similar as their story evolve around this same Puritan society of the seventeenth century in Salem, Massachusetts. The restrained and rigid Puritan lifestyle is explored in detail in both texts in which people were expected to work hard and repress their emotions and opinions. The Crucible relates very closely to Witch Child in its portrayal of a main theme within Puritanism: the witchcraft hysteria that marked the early History of America. The first similarity between Witch Child and Crucible is the portrayal of a strict Puritan religion. They were so strict that they accepted every word of the Bible as totally accurate and would not question its interpretation further, an example would be the famous 'Thou shalt not permit a sorceress to live' (2. Moses 22, 17) upon which most of the European witch trials had already been conducted. People were repressed, as entertainment and pleasure were heinous sins in which cosmetics, games, theatres and dancing were all banned. ...read more.

Middle

Since the exhibition of their affliction represented the main evidence during the trials, they were able to decide who was going to be accused and whether these persons were going to be executed or not. Whenever a person doubted the veracity of their afflictions or tried to argue with them, they would fall into fits accusing him or her of also being a witch. It may seem quite surprising that the witch hysteria occurred in a culture as religious as New England's, but in fact it is their oppressed Puritanical society which helped manoeuvre the bizarre witchcraft trial. Puritans combined their faith with a belief in witchcraft and alleged that one or another person was one of Satan's agents, bent on bringing harm to the community. They lived in an era of belief in the devil as a physical being who was incarnate, there to seduce them from the path of righteousness. The starting point which caused Salem's witch hysteria in The Crucible and Witch Child, seems to be rivalry which later on become jealousy from the two girl leaders Abigail Williams and Deborah Vane. One was jealous of Goody Proctor 'You drank blood, Abby! ...You drank a charm to kill John Proctor's wife!' the other one was jealous of Rebekah 'I want Tobias...I want you to put a curse on Rebekah. ...read more.

Conclusion

I therefore believe Arthur Miller deliberately used the choice of historical witch trial event in the seventeenth century to criticize the society in which he was living. Through The Crucible, Miller allowed the audience to be aware of the parallel between the Salem events and the modern society at this time, the McCarthy era did not learn from the past by reproducing a similar 'witch hunt' scenario in 1950s. On the other hand Celia Rees did not seem to have the same critical purpose when writing Witch Child as she was simply fascinated by her studies in American History, however she still may have had a hidden purpose or moral behind her novel; examples of the McCarthy era show that even though the belief in witchcraft has disappeared over time, similar events to the Salem witch trials occur even in our time, therefore they have not lost their historical importance and we cannot ignore them. As a conclusion, it has been demonstrated that Celia Rees and Arthur Miller have both wrote the stories of Witch child and The Crucible around the seventeenth century witchcraft trial in Salem, and although their purpose and narration were different when writing the text, their portrayal of Puritans in the Salem events have a very similar depiction in their belief, the way society was governed, their idea of women and the witchcraft trial. Suleina Kurrimboccus English A2 Coursework Suleina Kurrimboccus English A2 Coursework ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Arthur Miller section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Arthur Miller essays

  1. To what extent was Abigail Williams responsible for the Salem witch trials? In ...

    "I have seen them all through their silly season" She knew that what Betty and Ruth were doing was just their childhood mischiefs. In fact Abigail, when talking to Proctor, had said "She took fright, is all" about Betty's condition.

  2. The Crucible - summary.

    The witch trials serve as a means to break from this stifling atmosphere and publicly confess one's sins through accusation. This simultaneous fear of and fascination with sexuality is a theme that predominates throughout The Crucible, as demonstrated by the particular relationship between Abigail Williams and John Proctor and the

  1. How Does Arthur Miller Present The Characters of Abigail and Elizabeth and Shape Our ...

    It were a cold house I kept!'. Even though Miller presents clearly to his audience that their partnership was genuine from the language Elizabeth uses to communicate with and show her love to Proctor. She never rushes him or orders him what to do.

  2. The Crucible - Power and Manipulation

    A fourth character in the play who abused his power and was also very manipulative, was Judge Danforth. Judge Danforth was the Deputy Governor of Massachusetts and the presiding judge at the Salem witch trials. Danforth had the potential to abuse his power and manipulate the truth since he was

  1. The Crucible.

    To which Proctor replies "It is not a child" showing his deep contempt and loathing of Abigail at the moment. He proceeds to tell the court of how she has been twice thrown out of the meeting house for laughing during prayer.

  2. The Crucible.

    The moral problems associated with class inequality and power are also revealed. The greedy nature of members of the upper class is problematised. This is embodied by the materialistic character Thomas Putnam, who uses his agency to convict others of witchcraft in order to gain their land.

  1. Examine Arthur Miller's Presentation Of John Proctor's Moral Journey - The Crucible by ...

    It is obvious that he would find life a lot easier in a world where everything was either black or white, with nothing in between to complicate things. All this is shown by Miller in Proctor's physical actions throughout the scene.

  2. Look at Miller's presentation of Abigail in 'The Crucible'. How realistic is his presentation ...

    Mercy is described as being '...a fat, sly, merciless girl of eighteen'. This shows that although she had the cunning and mental ability to be a leader, she lacks the physical attributes necessary to seduce John Proctor and put the other girls in awe of her.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work