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The Crucible, by Arthur Miller, assessment.

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The Crucible Essay Throughout The Crucible, by Arthur Miller, many themes develop. Some of the themes contradict each other, and some of them overlap. And no one of them completely explains the play. You'll find that some ring more true than others, but you can find evidence to support all. We watch feelings of one character to another develop, take notes on proofs as they are presented, and listen to the views as the outsiders look onto the lives of the main characters. What is the "heat" between Abigail and Proctor? Is it true love, or is it just the lust of the flesh, or maybe some of both? Abigail remembers "how you clutched my back behind your house, and sweated like a stallion whenever I come near." This sure looks like lust, but later, in tears, she pleads with him: "I look for John Proctor, who took me from my sleep, and put knowledge into my heart! I never knew what pretense Salem was, I never knew the lying lessons I was taught by all these Christian women, and their covenanted men! ...read more.


So we too, had to reserve judgement, and just take note of these "proofs", as they are presented. The Puritans' views on sex were not so "puritanical" as we usually imagine. Sexual intercourse between married persons was not only encouraged, it was required by law. If a husband proved an impotent, his wife could have the marriage annulled. If the wife refused sex to her husband, this was considered "neglect of duty" and could be used as grounds for divorce. God had commanded his people to be fruitful and multiply, and the puritans took this commandment seriously. Today we call sexual intercourse, "making love", or "sleeping with." To the Puritans a man and women who had intercourse were "made one flesh." If you were married, it was your duty to be made on flesh with your spouse. But if you were made flesh with someone other than your spouse, this was adultery. And adultery, like witchcraft, was a capital offense. Elizabeth Proctor must have loved her husband very much to keep his secret. ...read more.


Hysteria - The theme of hysteria plays an important role in The Crucible, because everything that is good and true is lost in the throes of hysteria. People stop thinking logically and give in to the panic of the times. Hysteria is shown most prominently in the scene where the girls begin screaming out names of various people, accusing them of witchcraft. Everyone starts panicking and getting excited, no one paying any attention to the logical side of things. Suppression - Suppression is an important theme in the play because the people of Salem had their individual freedoms suppressed. The reason the children were so afflicted was not because of witchcraft, but because they were not able to be children otherwise. They were expected to be quiet, not heard, only seen. It is also best shown when the judges insist that Proctor's confession be signed and posted on the church door. Proctor resists this, but the judges say they will not accept the confession without this term. Proctor's individual freedom was suppressed. Also, since the only way to prevent being hanged was to lie about being a witch, their freedom to tell the truth was being suppressed. ...read more.

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