• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The Crucible.

Extracts from this document...


The Crucible: Long Essay Danielle Atlas The Crucible, a drama by Arthur Miller effectively explores and deals with a number of enduring social and moral problems. These problems are not only contemporaneous and contemporary, but also have featured repeatedly throughout history. The Crucible, written in America in the 1950s is a tragic drama centring the Salem Witch Trials of 1692. The drama itself is suggested to be an allegory for the anti-Communist "witch-hunts" of Miller's own context. It was published at the height of Joseph McCarthy's anti Communist campaign and parallels are drawn between the witch hunts of Salem and the 'witch hunts' of 1950s America - namely unsupported accusations, corruption and distrust and a spiral of fear and suspicion. However, the themes, issues and problems raised in the drama can be applied outside of any context, showing how the consequences of hysteria are problematised in a general sense. The problems raised by Miller are dealt with in the play through a variety of dramatic techniques and conventions, allowing the audience to condone or condemn many of the actions, decisions, themes and issues raised and problematised in the drama. Gender inequalities and the power relationships between men and women, are explored and dealt with in Miller's The Crucible. Women, in keeping with tradition are portrayed by a number of stereotypical roles. For example, the villainous character Abigail is constructed by Miller as a temptress, and the biblical discourse of the drama connects her to biblical figures such as Jezebel. Abigail is presented to the audience as a character with low moral integrity, driven by sexual desire for John Proctor and a lust for power. From a feminist viewpoint, the character Abigail represents the basic stereotypical views of women, particularly in a biblical sense. Considering that the audience condemns Abigail's power hungry nature and rejects her opinion, the stereotypical views of women are condemned in the drama. ...read more.


Throughout history, society has sought to 'rid the impure' and maintain a purer society through the use of murder, extermination and torture. Has the result been a ridding of impurity? Miller, through the use of irony rejects this ideology, and problematises it in The Crucible. Historic intertexts are decoded by the audience in order to treat these problems raised. The Crucible is most often seen as an allegory to McCarthyism and the Red Scare of the 1950s. After World War Two, Americans viewed Russia and Communism and a threat to their capitalist society. Innocent people were persecuted if they were Communist, or even suspected of having Communist sympathies. This historical intertexts relates directly to The Crucible, rejecting McCarthyism and the xenophobia it caused. However, other historical intertexts are evident in The Crucible and are utilised to present the issues of bigotry, xenophobia and the fear of the unknown as problematic. World War Two not only gave rise to Communism; it was also the period of the Nazi regime. Again, in pursuit of a 'pure' race, the crucible was applied to much of Europe, resulting in the persecution and extermination of Jews and other minority races. As Miller himself was Jewish, he may have had concerns about the bigotry and xenophobia of the Nazi Party and its regime. This is reflected - be it consciously or unconsciously - in The Crucible. Other historical intertexts such as the Russian Revolution and its repercussions are also evident in the bigotry and xenophobia evident in Miller's drama. The nature of human beings is problematised and moral problems are explored in The Crucible by Miller. Critics complained that Miller had over-emphasised the malice and cruelty of the judicial characters such as Judge Danforth. Miller, however replied that original records showed the judges in that light, and if he was to rewrite The Crucible, he would intensify, rather than reduce the evil nature of these men. ...read more.


This insecurity and inability to make clear concise decisions and the moral uncertainty of these decisions escalates the conflict within the drama, revealing dilemma and thus making the drama more effective. Unconsciously these characters ignore what they feel is right, and instead depend on the views of the persuasive society to do what they think is right. For example, Judge Danforth refuses to believe that the girls might be frauds and he has been making the wrong judgements throughout the play and sentencing innocents to death. The problem of moral uncertainty represented throughout the play through repetition, characterisation and conflict allows the audience to condemn this uncertainty. The audience is also able to view the destruction of characters and society itself within the play as a result of this lack of moral conviction and integrity. The Crucible, by Arthur Miller is an effective medium in which a variety of social and moral problems are raised. These problematised issues are typically treated in two ways. Firstly, in the case of problems raised such as gender and class inequalities, traditional roles are often maintained, but varied slightly in order to create confusion and complications. These complications allow these problems to be raised and condemned. Other problems, such as envy, jealousy and bigotry are vehemently attacked by Miller, allowing the audience to immediately view these issues and others as problematic. While some problems and issues raised are justified - for example, Abigail's desire for affection relates to her traumatic childhood - all in all, the main problems raised in The Crucible are rejected. This is achieved by the use of a variety of dramatic techniques and conventions throughout the drama, allowing the audience to gain insight into the problems evident not only in the Puritan society of Salem, Massachusetts in 1492, but to other contexts - be it Miller's McCarthyist context, the Nazi Germany period, contemporary society or to any general context where human behaviour and conflict is evident. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Arthur Miller section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Arthur Miller essays

  1. Analyse the ways in which the themes of intimidation and persecution are presented in ...

    The girls felt better and the hysteria died down. The Literary context is about Miller and McCarthyism; McCarthyism is making accusations of disloyalty, of pro-communist activity, in many instances unsupported by proof or irrelevant evidence. Joseph McCarthy led America to become anti-communists, as communism was Russian. America was scared of Russia because of the cold war.

  2. Discuss How Miller Presents The Theme Of Greed And Envy within 'The Crucible'.

    A character could just read out a shortened version of the notes, or even a copy of the notes could be handed out at the beginning of the play for the viewers to read at their own leisure. It is important for the audience to be aware of the authors'

  1. How Does Arthur Miller Present The Characters of Abigail and Elizabeth and Shape Our ...

    This is a sign of her love for John and is a key moment in their relationship as they are anticipating their reconciliation at the end of the trials. 'She glances at Proctor for a cue' and the impact of the instability of this significant lie determines the response of the audience to her massively.

  2. To what extent can 'The Crucible' be viewed as a Classical Tragedy?

    I will bring you soon'. 'Oh, John, bring me soon.' Proctor goes to court in an attempt to free Elizabeth, taking Mary Warren, and when the girls start screaming that Mary Warren is a witch and the judge seems to believe them Proctor is willing to forsake his own name

  1. The Crucible - summary.

    Reverend Hale brings with him half a dozen heavy books. He introduces himself to Rebecca Nurse, who has heard of her great charity. Giles Corey tells Hale that Proctor does not believe in witches, but Proctor says he did not speak one way or another.

  2. The Crucible - Power and Manipulation

    Mary also attempts to reveal that everything the girls had done and were doing was entirely pretence. However, it is not long before Abigail begins to twist and manipulate the truth. Abigail fallaciously claims that she can see Mary with the devil and that she could also feel a strong wind.

  1. The Crucible.

    sees it she was either lying in the first place about anybody sending their spirit out to hurt her and therefore there may be no witches in Salem at all and the court may have hanged innocent people, for which all the girls will be committed of perjury and punished

  2. John Proctor is the tragic hero of "The Crucible". Discuss

    This illustrates John's perseverance in attempting to redeem himself for his sin and wants to make right the troubles his mistake brought upon him. Because of John's inability to control his desire and resist temptation, his life is being turned upside down by the jealousy and need for revenge of

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work