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

'The Crucible' by Arthur Miller - Discuss the appeal of 'The Crucible' to its audience.

Extracts from this document...


English Literature Coursework: 'The Crucible' by Arthur Miller Discuss the appeal of 'The Crucible' to its audience 'The Crucible' is a 20th century play that focuses on the Salem witchcraft trials of 1692. These events led to mass hysteria over the persecution of those who, allegedly, participated in acts of incantation. Over-exaggeration, emotion, tautness, suspense and the eradication of characters (due to their alleged involvement in witchcraft) are the main themes of the play throughout the four volatile scenes of 'The Crucible'. The audience observing would be enticed by the mood swings of characters and their persecution for such crimes in the theocratic village, where interrogated citizens in the dense society were forced to name other possible witches. If they failed to produce names of others, they would be hanged ruthlessly. The inhabitants of Salem believed in witches and the Devil and that the Bible had instructed them that witches must be hanged. A feeling of inequity is sensed here. The events of the play, first performed in England in 1954, are analogous to the McCarthy era in the USA , where anyone suspected of criticising the government or its direction was to be brought before a court to respond to the charge of 'Un-American Activities'. ...read more.


The persecution of various wives in the village over allegations of witchcraft holds a clamorous atmosphere, in contrast to the muted tone of the interrogation of the innocent in court (over accusations of casting spells with the Devil). At the end of Act One, the tempo of the character's speeches increases as the girls accuse others of dancing with the Devil, screaming and bellowing (Betty): I saw Alice Barrow with the Devil! (Hale): Let the marshal bring irons! (Abigail): I saw Goody Hawkins with the Devil! (Betty): I saw Goody Hibber with the Devil! (Abigail): I saw Goody Booth with the Devil! This is a fierce scene as the girls are desperate to accuse alleged offenders of witchcraft, squealing so they are heard well. The repetition of exclamation marks mimics a chant by the girls. This may intimidate the attendees but also grips them as they sense a climax to the scene. The curtain falling leaves the audience with an anticlimax but eagerly anticipating the scene to follow. Miller uses characterisation in the play to affect the appearance and personality of a character. This may appeal to the audience as the individuals on stage seem more stereotypical but also add realism to the play. The girls in the play are valets and specialized in domestic drudgery, for example Mary Warren was John Proctor's servant. ...read more.


they were punished fairly, according to moral laws, and were executed if others felt they represented a threat to the community, like witches. The American society in 1950s was afraid of communism. The public would ostracize a communist, which is linked to Salem because their society was afraid of witchcraft and this shows that both communities were concerned about the welfare of their state. Both societies were determined to act harshly on individuals who were not acting as their government expected them to, such as involvement in witchery. Though the play itself has very few examples of symbolism beyond typical witchcraft symbols (rats, toads, and bats), the entire play is meant to be symbolic, with its witch trials standing in for the anti-Communist "witch-hunts" of the 1950s. Miller's appeal for an audience of his time would be related to the controversial message that McCarthyism was unfair prosecution of the innocent. An audience in today' society would be interested in historical events such as witchcraft, as they may be enthralled to find out how people lived in the late 17th century in America. The society and cultural changes that have taken place since this time period have transformed people's lives drastically. This may attract an audience who are interested in these changes, such as punishment and general welfare. ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 Sean Flynn 10 KO ...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 ...

    John even says take away my masculinity "say Proctor broke his knees and wept like a women, say what ever you will, but my name cannot-" He is so desperate to keep his name he says say I acted like a women but just let me keep my name.

  2. How does Miller handle the theme of Justice in 'The Crucible' and what message ...

    as easy to get someone thrown into jail for communism in the US. The protagonist in 'The Crucible' is John Proctor. It is an unusual choice as there is nothing apparently special to him. This is the actual reason why Miller chose John.

  1. The Crucible

    goodness in you [and] whatever you will do, it is a good man does it" (p.109). In realising John's true character Elizabeth also gains an insight in to herself.

  2. The Crucible - Power and Manipulation

    "I- I know not. A wind, a cold wind, has come." (Her eyes fall on Mary Warren) Mary: (Terrified, pleading) "Abby!" Abigail: (Shivering visibly) "It is a wind, a wind!" Mary: Abby, don't do that! However when she realises that her efforts are pointless and she would be much better

  1. "The Crucible" as a piece of drama is structurally flawed. It reaches a climax ...

    Proctor dies for the truth; he's got his personal reasons to do this. He does not want to betray his friends, who would rather die than lie, but Rebecca Nurse does it for her religious reasons. John says in act 4 "I blacken all of them when this is nailed

  2. The Crucible.

    However, as the play progresses, Elizabeth slowly gains more agency, confusing the power relationship and furthermore breaking stereotypes. At the climactic point of the drama, when John Proctor reveals his adulterous relationship with Abigail and Elizabeth is called in to verify his statement, he is confident, stating that his wife 'cannot tell a lie'.

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

    He committed adultery with Abigail against his wife. When Abigail stated "I know how you clutched my back behind your house and sweated like a stallion whenever I came near..." (page 22 of act one) She showed that she and John Proctor did have sexual relations. This flaw along with many other attributes contributed to him being a tragic hero.

  2. In some sense, 'The Crucible' has the arrangement of a tragedy,

    But I will cut my hand off before I'll ever reach for you again. Wipe it out of mind. We never touched, Abby', he tries to put his adultery in the past. He tells her that he never touched her, even though he did, and he makes it clear that It will never happen again.

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