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"How Are Truth and Lies Conveyed in 'The Crucible'?"

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Introduction

Havering Upminster Gaynes 12847 Candidate Number: "How Are Truth and Lies Conveyed in 'The Crucible'?" Arthur Miller was a Jew living in 1950s America. At this time, the Senator, Joe McCarthy, led an anti-communist movement. American citizens would be forced to give all names of people involved in un-American activities. If those accused did not stand before the committee, they would be blacklisted and they would have problems finding jobs. Arthur Miller himself was accused of communism and he wanted to display his feelings about this matter. The story, 'The Crucible' is based on fact but it is an allegory. Miller used an event, the Salem witch trials, which occurred many years before, to reflect his views on the anti-communist hysteria. He believed that both events were very similar in the way that both involved people accusing others to protect themselves. The play is set in Salem, Massachusetts, which was a theocratic society, which means that it was governed by the church. It was a very strict society and no pleasure was tolerated. In fact, people who indulged themselves in pleasure would be excommunicated. People at that time would have believed in witchcraft and the supernatural, and they would accuse people they didn't like of being witches because they knew that it would be regarded as a very serious crime and the punishment would be severe. ...read more.

Middle

This scene is full of dramatic tension, especially when we see Elizabeth panicking as to whether or not she should condemn her husband. When she is asked the question "Is your husband a lecher?" she eventually answers no. Unbeknown to her, the first lie she has ever made, has condemned her husband to almost certain execution. In the book we do not get the full feeling of the tension in the courtroom, however, in the film the scene involves long pauses and we see Elizabeth desperately trying to find the answer in John's eyes. This lie condemns John, because he was attempting to show the jury that Abigail is not as innocent as she appears. Unfortunately, this plan works against him and instead, he is seen to be the liar. Statements of truth are also very important to this play. The first major incident is when Mary Warren tells the truth about what really happened in the woods. "That were pretence Sir... I never saw no spirits! She starts confidently and the court appears to be believing her until Abigail and the other girls try to break Mary down by chanting everything she says. Abigail pretends to see a bird, supposedly Mary's spirit, but the other girls believe it is really there and they become wrapped up in the hysteria. ...read more.

Conclusion

There is very different staging in the film and the book. In the play, all the scenes were set inside, which gives a strong sense of claustrophobia. There are just four scenes, and each involves dark rooms with high windows. This shows that the play is gloomy and it could relate to the cold and dark characters involved, such as Abigail. However, in the film, there are both inside and outside scenes. The insides were dull and dreary whereas when it was outside the skies were blue. This reduces the tension and it creates a greater contrast. In addition, pathetic fallacy was used, so when the play was ominous, the weather reflected this and the skies were dark. The title of the play, 'The Crucible', is very significant and relates to the content. A crucible is a small dish used to break down chemicals in. This could be metaphorically describing how the people in the play were tested until they broke down and confessed. Although the play was set many years ago, even today we still lie and corrupt in order to protect ourselves or gain an unfair advantage. For example, because of the New York terrorist attack which occurred in September, it is now open for people to accuse others who they may not like of being involved. This is mainly happening to Muslims and the accusers are probably racists. Nevertheless, people today are still happy to accuse others to help themselves. Kirsty Ellison 11D2 ...read more.

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