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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? Arthur Miller wrote a play called 'The Crucible' in the early 50s. Even though the text in the play tells the story of some of The Salem Witch Trials, there is evidence which shows that Miller clearly connects his own communist trial by McCarthy to the outrageous trials of the witches. Due to this disgraceful act towards him from the powers within society, Miller decided to write a play to show his own perspective of 1950s society to the people of America. The setting of Act 3 can be interpreted as an attack on the severity of the authorities in Salem and 1950s America. Firstly, at the beginning of Act Three, the stage direction says 'two high windows'. This stage direction is really used just for directors to have a good impression of what the stage should look like from Miller's point of view. However, if you examine the whole stage directions carefully, it says that besides the sunlight, the whole room is dark and that the trials are being held in that room. This symbolises that the authorities of Salem are unjust because they believe that what they is doing is holy and just; but they are secretly hiding away from God. The darkness symbolised by the dark room and the light given off by the window, shows that God is present and that they cannot hide from him. The windows being high suggests that God and justice are very hard to reach. This shows that for authority in society to truly reach the holy and just state of existence that they desire, they still have a long way to go. This relates to Miller's experience because he was trying to say that America in 1950s was just as corrupt as the witch trials in 1692, therefore saying that since 1692 until 1950 society hasn't moved on to be more fair or more just. ...read more.

Middle

Society's reaction makes an example out of those who think about opposing society. This links back to my point about injustice in society because the innocent people are risking their own lives to try and make society progress into a better one. However, instead of being appreciated for making society progress they are treated worse than prisoners these days because even prisoners are allowed to have their own views and beliefs. Miller, is once again relating back to his play, because Miller acted a lot like Proctor in his McCarthy trial by expressing his own beliefs. Like Proctor he was punished for doing the honourable thing which was to not give in to the authority. Therefore this shows us that society is just as unjust as it was in both Salem and America in 1950s. Society still punishes people for believing something different that threatens society and could possibly challenge authority as demonstrated in Salem. The court officials are consistently shown as weak and overbearing which emphasises the injustices in Salem and of McCarthy. This is portrayed by Miller's play several times throughout Act Three. To begin with, one piece of evidence is the power Abigail has over Danforth which is shown on page eighty-seven. This event shows Abigail gaining power over Danforth by threatening him by saying that even he could get possessed by the devil. This shows that the court official is weak because Danforth hands his power over to Abigail, just so that he doesn't draw the devil's attention. Although, you can also argue that he handed all his power to Abigail in hope that she will purify Salem and can help execute all the people which have done bad deeds and save the innocent. But, this is ironic, because without Danforth's knowledge, he is hurting the innocent and protecting the wicked. However, either way you look at it, Miller portrays Danforth as weak because of his lack of responsibility and power. ...read more.

Conclusion

This makes us sympathise with the suffering of the innocent, just like Miller's own trial with McCarthy. Finally, there is the tension that is given to us when Proctor makes his damning speech on page ninety-six. This event makes the audience sympathise with Proctor because we, as the audience know that roaring at the court officials won't make them change their minds. Instead it would be used as evidence against you and this makes us want to shout from the audience to tell him 'don't shout at them!' Despite this, the event is made to make us think that he doesn't know that shouting at the officials will be seen as evidence against himself. In fact there is proof that shows that he does. If he does know that shouting will only make the matter worse, why did he do it? The reason is that he is so desperate that no matter how small the chance is of convincing the court that they are condemning innocent people he still has to take it. This gets our sympathy because we feel so sorry for him that he is so desperate he even has to shout at them to try and make the court realise what they are doing is wrong. This relates back to Miller's own experience because both Miller and Proctor had to stoop so low to try and convince the authorities by shouting at them, except that Miller did his shouting from the safeness within a play. In conclusion, I believe that Arthur Miller's 'The Crucible' is an attack, but only to a certain point. Using evidence I believe that he was really trying to show us two different perspectives. One, is that to find justice you have to be full of justice and fairness as a person. I believe that his second perspective was that he wanted us to see that there is responsibility attached to power and that it is important not to get caught up with the power by itself. This shows us that he is saying; Power can be a good servant, but a bad master. ...read more.

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