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Focusing on Act 3, to what extent is 'The Crucible' by Arthur Miller an attack on elements of society?

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Introduction

Focusing on Act 3, to what extent is 'The Crucible' by Arthur Miller an attack on elements of society? The Crucible is set in a puritan town in New England, Salem Massachusetts. The girls are caught dancing by the Reverend Parris the parish minister. This then start of a witch-hunt, which gets the town talking. People that are innocent are accused and the term 'name names or else' is being used by the courts. The innocent people of Salem get accused, and punished. This is an allegory of McCarthyism because this is what happened in the trials in 1950's, society was shattered by a rumour and fingers were pointed at innocent people. It's also an allegory of McCarthyism because it shows the court officials being unfair and unjust, just how they were in 'The Crucible.' The first way in which the setting of Act 3 can be interpreted as an attack on the severity of the authorities in Salem and 1950's America is shown through the stage directions Arthur Miller presents us with. Firstly uses the adjectives 'forbidding', 'empty' and 'solemn' to describe the room on the stage. The effect this has on the audience is curiosity and concern and this builds up a sense of tension within the audience. Also while we see all of this there is silence. In drama, silence is more powerful then words of actions. The silence and appearance surrounding the stage would build up a very strong sense of tension within the audience. Another reason for silence maybe that Miller wants to convey the presence of or the sign of evil in the court and probably that something is wrong, not right, or something bad is going to happen. The other way Arthur Miller has an impact on the audience is by using symbolism and imagery. In the opening of act 3 Arthur Miller has 'two high windows.' ...read more.

Middle

Another reason he might not mention the name is maybe because he talked about his wife Martha Corey and goes 'burn in hell long enough for that.' So that maybe the reason why he said nothing and stood speechless when asked. Also he feels that he has done too much damage already and doesn't want to cause no more harm to anyone. John Proctor has made a name for himself in 'The Crucible.' He's the husband of Elizabeth and has had an affair with the leader of the girls Abigail. But he still puts everything he has on the line when he takes the court on in bid of proving his wife's innocence. Firstly he come to the courtroom with Mary Warren and tell her to tell the truth and nothing and but the truth. With all of this he is also trying to free everyone and for all the courts got and Mary says 'never' seen any spirits. Everyone is in disbelief especially the judge Danforth and replies to Proctor by saying that the court burns a 'hot fire' that melts down 'all concealments'. This may suggest that Danforth is siding with the girls and doesn't believe a word that Mary and Proctor are saying because the girls seem to be with 'God.' By saying this Danforth maybe telling Proctor to back out now while he has the chance or trying so frighten him. But however the odds are stacked against him. They (the authorities) have evidence that he 'plough on Sunday' and that he goes to church 'once a month.' This may imply that he isn't a strong Christian believer like the rest of Salem but believes in witchcraft. Proctor could have not defended his wife with the obscene accusations but he did defend his wife, which shows what a loyal man he really is. This can be justified as an attack of injustice of Salem and of 1950's America because the courts are just not simply prepared to listen no matter how hard the people try and plead just like John Proctor! ...read more.

Conclusion

All the above shows how much pressure is being put on her and the innocent people. Mary couldn't withstand the pressure being put on her so she decided to go with the girls when she says that Proctor is 'the devils man.' It shows how one's decision can be influence by pressure. The final way in which slow build up of tension throughout the scene emphasises on emotional trauma suffered by the victims of both Salem and McCarthy is by Proctors damning lines at the end of the scene. Proctor is outraged and loses it completely. He says in a damning way 'I say- I say- God is dead!' The people in the courtroom would have been in shock now. Their minds we made up that Proctor was most probably the devil now. But on the other hand Proctor nothing and nothing to lose he had lost everything, his name, his dignity and his wife. So now Proctor is faced with naming names or face being hanged. The dilemma here is that Proctor is now defenceless his only hope was Mary but she had decided to side with the girls and now might as well give up rather then getting other people into trouble. This shows how naming names was so powerful that Proctor could have stopped him from getting himself hanged and got someone else hanged. But he didn't. Having considered the dramatic nature of this scene, I believe it criticises Salem's authority and of McCarthy trials. It shows how corrupt the courts were and they simply wanted to send down as many people as they wanted. The innocent characters are being forced and pressurised to 'name names' or else be hanged. The damning lines show how much people would do to jus clear there names but the courts weren't prepared to listen. It shows a little rumour has ripped apart society and this will be hard to fix back together. It also shows the emotions and love between the characters and how far they would go to save there loved ones. ...read more.

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