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The Crucible

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Introduction

In the early 1950's the playwright Arthur Miller penned the highly successful play: The Crucible. First produced in 1953 at the height of McCarthyism era, Millers Crucible was thought of as a strong political parable; a reflection of the communist witch hunts: The Crucible is one of the most famous historical and political allegories of all time. Set in the 17th century New England, the play is based around the Salem Witch trials. The Crucible includes many social and historical features, most of which are connected to puritan life and beliefs; but also to the American autocratic society. This essay will study he characters in-depth, mainly that of Abigail Williams: and her aims of successful manipulation and influence over John Proctor to commit adultery. I will also look at Abigail's psychosomatic behaviour in order to empathise with her character. Abigail's fist scene begins in Act 1 where her savage rampage of manipulation and deceit begins. Although her intentions at this point are unclear to the audience, curiosity is still present in our thoughts. We begin questioning Abigail as does her Uncle Parris. Along with Parris' questioning and our curiosity of the truth, surely there is more to the 'innocent girl' than what meets the eye. Reverend Parris (Abigail's Uncle) questions his niece as to why his daughter Betty is quiescent after his shock revelation in the woods. ...read more.

Middle

However throughout the act the climax builds resulting in total hysteria from Abigail and the girls. Again just as Act 1, Act 2 begins in silence only this time with John and his wife Elizabeth Proctor, sat either end of a long dinner table. It is as if Miller is allowing time to reflect upon the previous action, by creating serenity. Act 4 however is totally converse to previous acts. Act 4 begins with a quiet conversation which lads into the courtroom later in the act. Within Act 4 is the final court scene where John Proctor is taken away to hang; unlike the climax at the end of each act, Act 4 ends in calmness as Elizabeth is resigned to what is going to happen to her husband: this enables the audience to empathise with Elizabeth. The serenity which begins and ends Act 4 enables the audience to have a final reflection time. The staging of the court scene is an effective use of symbolism; the fact that they use a separate room instead of the actual court, shows how our own country keeps us in the dark just as they portray in the play, they also show us how information is believed more when it is produced from a more respected citizen. The Crucible was written in the 1950's however is set in the 17th century. ...read more.

Conclusion

The fact that critics have explored the themes emphasises to The Crucible's audience the major foundations to the play: this enables the audience to delve further into the plays meaning, and even empathise with characters such as John and Elizabeth. In conclusion to my essay I believe I have learnt the major connections to three different centuries. All 17th, 20th, and 21st centuries have strong connections and similarities in light of scapegoats, misinformation, and even incorrect accusations. For example in the17th century innocent people were hanged, in the 20th century innocent people were falsely imprisoned and in the 21st century innocent people were sent to war for others conflicts: some were killed. Because of all of this I feel even more strongly about people telling the truth than before I became familiar with The Crucible. From The Crucible I have learnt a lot about past and present society. The thing which mainly stands out is the continuous spreading of false hysteria. In the past 4 centuries many 'plagues' of hysteria have spread resulting in a variety of suffering: such as the mental and physical suffering of those in Salem and those associated with the McCarthyism era. The Crucible can be used as a good lesson for us all based on the grounds that lying comes with serious consequences, evident in the play. In my opinion I believe Millers message to be very clear, it is as if he is emphasising the effects of lies and misinformation and also the severity and damage these can lead to. Hayley Anstee The Crucible essay 10x1 ...read more.

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