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How does Miller handle the theme of justice in The Crucible and what message does he impart on the audience?

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Introduction

How does Miller handle the theme of justice in The Crucible and what message does he impart on the audience? The word 'justice' can be defined as rightfulness and lawfulness, although I interpret it's meaning in this case as 'fairness'. In the play The Crucible, Miller's message to the audience is that there will always be some kind of injustice and unfairness. The witch trials show injustice in a very obvious way. They condemned people to death by hanging without a fair trial and a lawyer to represent them at the trial. Most of the injustice is centred around the court and the action of the judges who predetermine the fate of the accused by their closeness and regular attendance to church. Some of characters suffer a lack of justice, particularly the main character John Proctor. At the end of the play when John Proctor has been falsely accused of helping the devil, he refuses to sign his name to witchcraft on the public notice on the church door. He cries, "I have confessed myself it is enough", he doesn't want all the people of Salem to see his name signed to the false accusations. Instead he did what he thought was right for himself and by refusing to admit his 'guilt' he was taken to be executed. ...read more.

Middle

Parris is in a "small upper bedroom" which is claustrophobic especially when many people are present. The room has just one "narrow window" regulating the amount of light that can enter; this shows a form of control. When the play begins Parris is kneeling down praying, the characters assume he is asking God for the good health of his daughter but in fact he is putting on an act. The only thing Parris is truly concerned about is his reputation as a Reverend, and whether his household is the centre of "some obscene practice", witchcraft. Throughout act one we see people coming into this miniature room and leaving it, this creates a stronger feeling of claustrophobia. Later on in the play, John Proctor arrives home from work and tastes his wife's soup and seasons it to his liking without her noticing, he then comments "It's well seasoned". This also shows dramatic irony as the audience or reader knows more than the characters. Each of the scenes is set somewhere different, but each setting is inside. Act one is set in Parris' House, act two is set in Proctors House, act three is set in the Court and act four is set the prison cell. ...read more.

Conclusion

Miller uses the omniscient narrator to introduce each main character by giving a brief history of their life, "Proctor was a farmer" and "Mr Hale is nearing forty". He also uses it to describe the scenery and stage settings. This doesn't make a big impact on the reader as it isn't essential and it is not used in the play as it would lose the dynamics of the drama each time it is read. In many of the productions of The Crucible it is forgotten and not even put in the program. However it is useful in the book for serious readers because it portrays a greater vision of the setting. In conclusion, I believe that The Crucible is a play that shows injustice and unfairness clearly from which everyone can see and learn. Even if you don't know anything about McCarthyism you can still watch the play or read it and get something out of it, as you can learn how people act in different circumstances. You could possibly relate it to the events taking place in the United Kingdom in the late 20th Century and early 21st Century with the Muslims. Many Christians are afraid of Muslims because of the suicide bombers, and the mindset and belief of the suicide bombers are unknown to us, like witchcraft was unknown to the people of Salem. ...read more.

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