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The Crucible

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Introduction

The Crucible, written by Arthur Miller is a dramatisation of the events which took place in Salem, a small, Massachusetts town in 1692. The play is based around real historical events and show how they affected the inhabitants of Salem. To fully understand how or why these events happened in Salem, we must look at the religious beliefs of the inhabitants at the time. They were Puritans who had very strong beliefs in witches and the devil and also believed that the bible had instructed them that witches must be hanged. This strong faith in their religious beliefs led to bottled up frustrations and hatred coming out in the hysteria of the witch hunt. The events of 1692 have been linked by Miller to the witch hunt of communist sympathisers in the late 1940's and early 1950's in America. Led by the chairmanship of Senator Joseph McCarthy an organisation called the House Un-American Activities Committee became almost paranoid in its seeking out of these communist sympathisers amongst the American people. People were arrested by the committee and asked to name people who they had seen at communist meetings. Miller linked these public confessions with the naming of names at Salem in 1692. ...read more.

Middle

He has come to arrest Elizabeth by order of the court. Hale seems shocked and speaks with uncertainty about Elizabeth's link with the Devil but goes on trusting that God will prevail, "I shall pray God open up our eyes." In Act Three Hale has changed somewhat. Hale is not convinced at all with Elizabeth Proctor's link with the Devil and also with many other people being held by the court. He is now starting to think and speak what the audience reading the play would be thinking and saying. When Elizabeth Proctor defends her husband's name by lying in the court, Hale cries out, "Excellency, it is a natural lie to tell: I beg you stop now before another is condemned!" This means that Hale thinks that the people who have been condemned are innocent and it cannot go on. He speaks exactly what everyone reading the play will be thinking in their heads. By the end of Act Three I don't think that there is any doubt I the reader's head and that of Hale's that the witchcraft is being made up and that Abigail is behind the hysteria. "This girl has always struck me false!" Abigail begins to twist the court away from believing Proctor's and Mary Warren's story when they are summoned to the court to talk about the Poppet. ...read more.

Conclusion

Abigail uses the invisible bird to her advantage in Act Three in the courtroom where she says that Mary Warren has sent her spirit out upon her. Hale is used in all the dramatically effective scenes and is a key character. He is called upon by the village of Salem to help and by the end he has abandoned all his principles and tries to save people's lives as most people would do out of human nature. He is very much the audience's representative on stage, but sometimes, as in the courtroom scene, his voice and ideas are drowned out by a voice of authority, in this case Danforth. In closing, Hale is a key character, changing his emotions and views according to the different events in the play. He cannot hold on to his principles in the face of innocent people dying. I think this shows how he is just a normal human, he can be very confident but when it becomes clear that you have done something wrong, you will surrender your principles to make it right. ?? ?? ?? ?? Adam Wilson English Literature G.C.S.E Hale enters Salem as a confident expert on witchcraft, he leaves at the end of Act IV a broken man with "blood on his head". Trace the changes of his character as the play progresses. ...read more.

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