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The Crucible Coursework Essay

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Introduction

The Crucible Coursework Essay The Crucible was written in 1952 by the playwright Arthur Miller. It is an allegory of the McCarthy 'witch-hunts' which occurred during the 1950's. It was effectively the arrest and questioning of those suspected of communist views or that sympathised with communists. The USA was very suspicious of communists due to the Cold War between itself and the USSR. Joe McCarthy, leader of the governmental organisation, the Anti-Democracy Policy, headed the hunts. Arthur Miller was himself arrested by McCarthy. Miller was very irritated by this and decided that he wanted to protest by writing a satirical play. To have his play shown on Broadway he had to write an allegory based on his treatment and the insanity of the 'witch-hunts'. The play is set in a fictional town named Salem in Massachusetts, USA in 1692, a period of American history when people were strict Christians. In Acts I, II and III we see a portrayal of local farmer John Proctor as he becomes involved in the injustices and realises the stupidity of the witch-hunts of Salem. ...read more.

Middle

that is blatantly bullied into lying, during Abigail's pretence of Mary's spirit attacking her as a bird, which no-one can see except the girls. This leads to Proctor's arrest. The Crucible was made into a film in 1996 starring Daniel Day Lewis as John Proctor. The director's interpretation of Act IIII is evident through his use of music, camera angles, choice of location, lighting and dramatic devices. In the film, at the end of Act III, Proctor declares that "God is dead" after chasing Mary into the river. This is a reference to the Bible, where John the Baptist stands in the water to baptise Christ. Lewis also stands with his arms outstretched like Jesus on the crucifix. Here, the director could be symbolising Proctor as the true, honest Christian and the county judge, Danforth, as Pontius Pilate, the leader that condemned Christ to be crucified. In a medium long shot of Proctor in the water we see that the townspeople have moved away from him, leaving him alone. ...read more.

Conclusion

The tension is heightened as Proctor begins to sign the paper, which the dramatic music demonstrates. Lewis' tone of voice rises in anger as Proctor prepares to tear the paper. As the paper is torn, the music gets louder and Lewis sighs, indicating that Proctor's conscience has been eased. Danforth looks defeated here, showing us that Proctor's truth and ability to stay strong has quashed the judge. Proctor is then sent to be hanged, and arrives in a cart carrying Goody Nurse, an innocent woman also condemned to death. In the shot both he and Goody Nurse are standing implying that they are closer to Heaven than the crowds below that have come to see them executed. We see a close-up of Elizabeth and at this point the music becomes powerful, showing her strong character. As they begin to recite the Lord's Prayer we see that the accused are true Christians, though by not being allowed to finish the prayer, we see that justice has now been overcome. Through his own interpretation, the director presents the film in a way that remains true to the original themes and ideas of Miller's play. ...read more.

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