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The Crucible

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Introduction

The climax of 'The Crucible' is the personal crisis faced by John Proctor The play 'The Crucible' was written by Arthur Miller in 1953, during the era of McCarthyism in the U.S.A. Miller was brought in front of the house of Un-American Committee because of his left wing policies. Miller said "On that day a living connection between him and Salem was made, which prompted him to write 'The Crucible'. I am going to explore and trace the personal crisis faced by John Proctor who is prominent character in 'The Crucible'. Proctor was a farmer in his middle thirties. He is portrayed as a strong man - both physically and morally 'powerful of body...not easily led'. The respect that Salem has for him is clearly evident 'in proctor's presence, a fool felt his foolishness instantly'. Although he is respected in Salem, like everybody else he has his 'skeletons in his closet'. He sees himself as a fraud, 'he is a sinner, a sinner not only against the moral fashion of the time, but against his own vision of decent conduct' '...regard himself as kind of a fraud'. He puts on a fa´┐Żade - 'the steady manner he displays does not spring from an untroubled soul'. During the course of this assignment, I am going to explore the key themes of fear, pride, love and lust, honesty and integrity and ethics of the puritan society. ...read more.

Middle

John Proctor is angry because Elizabeth will not forget his misdeeds and therefore he can forget it 'you forget nothing' and forgive nothing'. This makes him believe he doesn't have her forgiveness but as an audience, her still being in that marriage signifies some shred of forgiveness, if not total. The theme of vengeance comes into place when Abigail accuses Elizabeth of witchcraft. There is dramatic irony here because everyone in Salem has come to regard her as a saint while the audience knows the truth. I believe Abigail accused Elizabeth of witchcraft in hope of replacing her but more also to spite her and hurt John Proctor. Abigail holds the power of fear over the people of Salem. She holds this power over the judges because they fear the unknown and over the people because they fear for their lives which make them admit to a crime they are innocent of. The fear of dying leaves them no choice but to confess to witchcraft 'and, why not, if they must hang for denying it?' Here proctor sees through these confessions because he is aware of the truth. This can be linked to modern day because fear is a powerful weapon and can be used to force anyone to do almost anything. When Elizabeth is charged with witchcraft, John sacrifices his pride in an attempt to save her - his pride which he held so dear, this shows the audience that he truly loves Elizabeth. ...read more.

Conclusion

Proctor refuses to let them have his signed confession because it's his name and his name is his pride. He knows if the village sees his singed confession, his name will be blackened and the respect he was has will be gone 'how may I live without my name? I have given you my soul; leave my name!' He knows he is singing to lies. He knows if his confession is nailed to the door he will be branded a liar, a witch and he will never be able to change it. 'I think I see some shred of goodness in John Proctor' - he has finally forgiven himself, by not giving his name and he can leave with some dignity. He feels he has gotten back some of his integrity in front of God and he can be at peace with himself. The actions of the other characters and the raw emotions Miller shows through the stage directions heightens the climax of the end of the play 'Parris: (in deadly fear)... (Rushes out to the door...to hold back his fate)' Parris and Hale feel a sense of responsibility for the event unfolding before them '(he drops to his knees)...go to him take his shame away'. 'The final drum roll crashes...and the new sun is pouring in upon her face' - this signifies that as one thing ends, another begins. 'The new sun' signifies new beginnings and sun brings life and hope, this means there's hope for Elizabeth and the rest of Salem. ...read more.

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