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How does Miller handle the theme of Justice in 'The Crucible' and what message does he impart to his audience?

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Introduction

How does Miller handle the theme of Justice in 'The Crucible' and what message does he impart to his audience? The crucible was set in 1692 in Salem, Massachusetts. The play is based on true facts about events that actually took place. It is about a small secluded town that relies strongly on their religion to keep them feeling safe. Their enemy is the devil and they are always scared of the devil and constantly looking for signs that the devil is there. "We cannot leap to witchcraft. They will howl me out of Salem for such corruption in my house." The fear of the devil gets so strong the town's justice system take strong actions to keep everyone safe. The paradox between justice and freedom is very unbalanced. The justice and courts are so strict none of the Salem people have their own personal freedom. Miller is questioning the fairness of the justice in Salem and that of the justice system in the US in the 50's at the time he wrote the play. This is called an allegory. In the 50's McCarthyism was the suppression of communism. Anyone accused of being a communist would be put into prison. Anyone who criticized the government was brought before the court and asked to name people they had seen at communist meetings. Arthur Miller did not agree with the system and wanted to get his views across. If he wrote a play about Senator McCarthy and his justice systems faults then he would have been arrested and the play would not have been shown. He made the play about the witchcraft in Salem to cover up his true meaning whilst being a polemic teaching people of the corruption in the justice system. The characters in Salem all represent people from the US in the 50's. The Judges represent the Senators. Miller makes them disliked by the audience by showing the unfairness of their justice and how they lose sight of what should be a punishable crime. ...read more.

Middle

He has been completely honest and risks losing his respect in the trust that the truth will been shown about Abby's pretences. His trust is misplaced and the court believes Abby. Now John has been put into these tragic circumstances his heroic qualities are more obvious. Proctor is put into prison because in the Salem justice system it is easy to prosecute, but the defense has almost no chance, due to the biased Judges and the paranoid fear of the devil. His faith in the truth throughout they play is lost in act four. He realizes the corruptness of the Justice and loses his faith in humanity. The audience feels angry as the system has almost defeated the hero in forcing him to lose his integrity by signing a confession. "He will confess! Proctor will confess!" For the Judges this means people will not lose faith in their justice for Proctor he feels like he is committing a huge sin. At the end of the play Proctor becomes the true Hero when he cannot completely lose his integrity by having the town know that he condemned his friends. Proctor is questioning who he is being judged by as he realizes that the courts justice is very different to God's justice. "HALE: Man you will hang! You cannot! PROCTOR: I can. And there's your first marvel, that I can. You have made your magic now, for now I do think I see some shred of goodness in John Proctor." Proctor restores the audience's faith in humanity by doing the right thing. He is now a good person and he see himself as one; this makes the audience see him as a hero as he is now a good man. The audience also feels angry that the Justice system has won. The antagonist of the Crucible is Abigail Williams. Abby at first appears to be the protagonist until her true nature is shown. ...read more.

Conclusion

This is also dramatic irony because the audience knows that he has forgotten the one he committed, but Hale is unaware. This shows how the justice depends too much on religion. John test to see if he was a good person was to remember 10 commandments. The audience can see this has no relevance to weather he is a good man or not. There is dramatic irony again when Danforth says "do you doubt my justice" The audience know that the justice system is completely unfair and unjust but he is saying that it is a sin to even question weather it is being just. When Danforth says "my" justice it is once again showing that there is a difference between the judge's justice and God's justice. Miller ends the play with a small passage entitled 'echoes down the corridor' This is information to the audience about what is happening now. It shows that there was some justice in the end. When John is calling Abby a whore and no one believes him the audience feel there is no justice. "Abigail turned up later as a prostitute in Boston" To make people feel there is justice as Abby got what she deserved and people finally saw through her and she revealed the truth to what she really was. Miller states that Paris was voted out of office. This was also what happened to Senator McCarthy they both were causing injustice and in the end were both expelled. This means that they have got their justice. The audience is most concerned if John gets his justice. He does because the audience can all see that he is a good man and he becomes a hero to anyone watching the play. The characters in the play don't celebrate him as a hero but from everyone watching he is praised. This means his message of following your own sense of right and wrong is received my hundreds of people. This is how John gets his justice and how miller restores people's faith in the goodness of humanity. 1 Tamsin Arthur 18/7/03 ...read more.

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