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Discuss The Dramatic Presentation of Justice and Morality in 'The Crucible' by Arthur Miller.

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Introduction

Discuss The Dramatic Presentation of Justice and Morality in 'The Crucible' The crucible written by Arthur Miller, in 1953 is set in the heart of puritan 16th century America. The main plot is about the witch hunts during that period and the lives that were affected by it. Although the play is about the witch hunts in Salem in the 16th century, the sub plot is really referring to the injustice that Miller himself was experiencing when he wrote it. In the play, it was not only acceptable practice in Salem to accuse people of witchery (usually women) but it was also acceptable to render them completely unable to defend themselves from such accusations. The society's Puritanism, hysteria and conflicting views on morality and all that is just accounted for the horrendous tragedies to follow. Justice and morality are the main themes introduced throughout the play - justice, meaning the administration of law according to prescribed and accepted principles and morality, meaning the degree to which something is morally acceptable. Many issues associated with justice and morality such as the difficulties and dangers of conforming to strict principles including the consequences of the misuse of justice are also highlighted in the play. This essay will discuss those themes and how the audience is presented with them dramatically. ...read more.

Middle

But as we see in the next scene, she threatens her own friends into silence. "Let either of you breathe a word, or the edge of a word about the other things, and i will come to you in the black of some terrible night and i will bring some pointy reckoning that will shudder you. And you know i can do it." The "evil" that made her capable of drinking chicken's blood made the girls fear her, so much so that when Procter asked Mary (his house helper) to tell the courts about Abigail she replied "she'll kill me for saying that". Juxtaposition was also used to show the different levels of morality between the characters. Throughout all the chaos of trying to find who is moral and who isn't, the audience is fully aware that Abigail was behind it all and she is the person lacking in morals. This made it possible for the audience to make the contrast between her and the other members of the community. Again Abigail's acted superiority complex revealed itself when Reverend Parris asked her why no-one in the village had rehired her, she replied by saying how they wanted to enslave her and how she would not "blacken her face for any of them". ...read more.

Conclusion

Because I lie and sign myself to lies! Because I am not worth the dust on the feet of them that hang! How may I live without my name? I have given you my soul; leave me my name!". Proctor's desire to preserve his good name kept him from testifying against Abigail. In the end, however, he came to a true understanding of what a good reputation meant and what course of action was needed. This defense of his name enabled him to muster the courage to die, heroically, with his goodness and name intact. Miller's purpose in writing a play steeped in issues of morality and justice is to leave a message for future generations. He lived in a time known as the Mccarthy era, where people would betray life-long friends by telling the government about their perceived communistic leanings. Many people lost their jobs, reputations, prides and most importantly their 'names'. Arthur Miller used his depiction of the Salem witch trials to further illustrate to people that they had not learned much from that dark chapter in American history. He also wanted to warn people of the dangers of blind conformity and the "sheep syndrome" where people find it is safer to follow the crowd because they are too afraid to take an individual and unpopular stance. Miller was trying to show us that if there were more courageous people like Procter, then many of the ghastly things that have happened in history could have been prevented. ...read more.

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