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Does 'The crucible' by Arthur Miller emphasise the very best or the worst of human behaviour? How is this behaviour presented to us?

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Introduction

Does 'The crucible' by Arthur Miller emphasise the very best or the worst of human behaviour? How is this behaviour presented to us? Arthur Miller's 'The crucible' is a play that shows the extremes of human behaviour both good and bad. In this essay I will be discussing these extremes and also hope the essay will help me conclude whether the best or the worst of human behaviour is presented more strongly. I will also aim to link these themes to events, which would have affected the author at the time the play written. I will give examples of each type of behaviour and conclude. I will start by explaining about the background of 'the crucible'. Arthur Miller wrote it in 1950's America but it is set in Salem 1692. Salem was a puritan community that because of the time had very little scientific knowledge so blamed any unexplained happenings on witchcraft. If someone was accused of witchcraft and confessed they were saved from being hanged but if they denied the charges then they were almost definitely hanged. This is how the witch-hunt began, people would be accused and they would confess and blame others and in turn the others accused would accuse someone else. Miller's reasons for writing this play were mainly because the events' happening in the 1950's America. ...read more.

Middle

There is danger for me. I dare not step outside at night!" I think Arthur Miller has been very successful in the character of Parris because although he doesn't actually cause any of the damage directly he still makes him a thoroughly unpleasant character and I think that the audience would feel the same. I personally feel sorry for Parris because he isn't a bad man he's just a pathetic one. I think a scene which shows a lot of the worst behaviour is act three in the court. The obvious examples are from Abigail and the girls when they pretend to be bewitched by Mary who gets terrified at their act. Their reason for doing this is that Abigail is angry with Mary for betraying them and wants her to be accused of witchcraft so that she has no choice but to go back and join them. The audience I think would have particularly drawn into the scene because it is very tense and a lot of things happen. When Elizabeth lies for John and when John is arrested I think would have been parts that made the audience particularly angry with Abigail. Miller creates tension in this scene especially in the part where Mary is getting hysterical with the girls repeating every word Mary says and stamping their feet. ...read more.

Conclusion

This essay has discussed many things that featured in 'The Crucible' such as conscience and the way Arthur Miller made his characters either liked or disliked. All of the characters in this play were put under extreme pressure and in these situations the best scenes in the play arise. Overall I think that the best of human behaviour was presented more strongly than the worst because the characters that have the best behaviour are more strongly presented. But saying that Arthur Miller does successfully portray the worst of behaviour also because none of his characters are two-dimensional they all his separate lives which intertwine and so you feel for all of them even those who responsible for the deaths. In my introduction I aimed to show the parallels between puritan Salem and the anti communist feelings of right wing America. I have done so. The audience at both the time this was written and in the present day would find this play both emotionally challenging and exciting. The reaction to the last scene probably would have been tears, as I myself was close to tears when watching the film version. I also have achieved the link between the interrogation of Arthur Miller over his political beliefs and the witch hunts in Salem 1692, His reaction to the hysteria and how he wrote the play in protest to the somewhat ludicrous questioning of people in Salem. ...read more.

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