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Examine Miller’s Purposes In His Presentation of Evil In ‘The Crucible’

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Introduction

Examine Miller's Purposes In His Presentation of Evil In 'The Crucible' Targets 1. To give sophisticated interpretations supported by concise textual analysis. 2. To show originality of analysis when evaluating the dramatic effects of character and action. 3. To show originality of analysis when evaluating dramatic devices and structures. 4. To show originality of analysis when evaluating the significance of the social, historical and cultural setting of the play. Evil has evolved with society since history began. In the times of the Salem Witch Trials evil was fire and brimstone, the Devil and witches. Modern evils are perceived as paedophiles and the Osama Bin Ladens of the world. Less people in the 21st century have strong religious beliefs whereas religion was the backbone of 17th century society. Less people can be judged as good or evil on the grounds of religion and superstition nowadays. Theocracy ruled the courthouses. Instead, we judge people on their moral, social and psychological standing. In the 21st century people are judged by juries and the public. Seventeenth century society was ruled by an autocracy; only one person or a very small group of people had power in the community. Often the great amount of power placed in these people's hands would go to their heads and the community, whether it be a small town like Salem or a whole country, would be left in ruins. ...read more.

Middle

The good characters always prevailed in fairy stories. Lucrative plots and colourful advertising for the big Hollywood blockbusters add to the fun and excitement of watching. Many recent films have centered themselves around the supernatural indicating a link that the genre will never grow old. 'Harry Potter' and 'The Lord of the Rings' film are the two most recent examples of this. Stories based on rounded, more-realistic characters are often negated because of the idea of them not being as exciting as the latest action film or romantic play. This view applies for the majority of contemporary audiences. If we look deeper into the play it is obvious that Miller has other purposes rather than just the creation of an exciting play. The narrator's comments at the beginning of Act 1 are critical of 17th century beliefs of where evil originates in society and the way that the villagers live. The comments give the audience an insight into the hidden agendas such as Abigail's plot to steal John that help make 'The Crucible' an exciting play. The beautiful scenery in the film contrasts the evil and helps to highlight Miller's criticisms of life in Salem. The audience's perceptions of evil in 'The Crucible' changes. ...read more.

Conclusion

The Director of the 1997 film version starring Winona Ryder develops the portrayal of evil by challenging contemporary evils such as black slavery and child abuse. His purpose is to raise awareness of evil in modern society and to perhaps prevent them happening in future. The link to child abuse in particular delivers a strong message when recent events such as the kidnapping of Sarah Payne. The film is more graphic in its depiction of child abuse because extra scenes displaying the abuse taking place are added. Arthur Miller's purpose for this is to bring out more emotion in the audience because 17th century evils do not have quite the same impact that they used to. In conclusion, I do not agree with Tynan's criticisms. Despite his comments I believe that beneath the good an evil personas Arthur Miller has used to make an exciting play are complex personalities of people living in an oppressed society. On a basic level Miller creates an exciting, dramatic play. He provokes thoughts in the audiences with his meaningful criticisms of 17th century society and once explained, his allegorical purposes are clear and an audience's viewpoint on society and its evils can be changed. I am sure that 'The Crucible' will entertain people for many years to come. ?? ?? ?? ?? Adam Burns 28/04/2007 ...read more.

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