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The Crucible. How does Miller make vivid the triumph of superstition over reason and common sense in Salem?

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Introduction

How does Millar make vivid the triumph of superstition over reason and common sense in Salem? Robbie Morrison(tm) 11MCM "Witchcraft is ipso facto, on its face and by its nature, an invisible crime is it not? Therefore who may possibly be witness to it? The witch and the victim." In Arthur Millar's 'The Crucible' logic and superstition are manipulated and entwined in a re-enactment of the Salem witch trials in America in the 1690's. The governing system of Salem is a theocracy; the religious heads of the society make decisions and have power. Because the bible states that witches exist, when accusations of witchcraft start they're taken as being reasonable before considering the circumstances surrounding them, thus superstition overcomes reason. Millar makes vivid the triumph of superstition by the symbolism of light in settings; light being symbolic of reason or goodliness and darkness being of evil or superstitions, His use of characterization of two key characters Proctor and Rebecca Nurse who are convicted and by the use of plot development, and also of reverend Hale's conflicting views throughout the play. Millar makes vivid the triumph of superstition over common sense by the use of imagery and the symbolism of light in the settings in 'The Crucible'. In the first description of the reverend's house, where Betty fakes her illness, there is a symbolic image of light; "there is a narrow window at the left. ...read more.

Middle

Millar Makes vivid the triumph of superstition over reason by the characterization of Rebecca Nurse, a key characters in 'the Crucible'. At The exposition of the play, when Reverend Hale meets Rebecca Nurse he states that "we have heard of your great charities as far as Beverly" this shows that Rebecca has a great deal of respect as a devout Christian woman not only in Salem but also abroad. There is a class system in Salem based on the Christian standing of the individual, Rebecca nurse therefore was in the highest class and had the highest level of respect in the town. It took little persuasion for the townspeople to believe that someone who was in a low class, and whose morals were questionable, was in fact a witch. To convict a low class citizen is a triumph of superstition over reason but not a great one. However when the highest members of standing in the town are convicted of witchcraft it is really made vivid to the reader that the members of the community which accept and condone the sentencing have let superstition overcome their reason and common sense "Rebecca Nurse is no Bridget that lived three year with Bishop before she married him". Thus Millar depicts the triumph of superstition over common sense by the progression of how higher class members will be accepted as being guilty in the court. ...read more.

Conclusion

and what I touched with my bright confidence, it died" he states that he came to Salem with honest intentions but in aiding the court he went against the rationalism which he cherishes; he states "there is blood on my head" The contrast of Hales views shows the triumph of superstition over reason. Hale, who is "not connected to the court", is a beacon of reason, and he determines through reason that the accusations are merely superstition. The reader being able to relate to Hales views reinforces the triumph of superstition and makes it vivid as the reader appreciates the absurdity of the charges. The Play is successfully summed up by a quote from the real Reverand Hale: "Such was the darkness of that day, the tortures and lamentations of the afflicted, and the power of former presidents, that we walked in the clouds, and could not see our way". Millar makes vivid the triumph of superstition by the symbolism of light in settings; light being symbolic of reason or goodliness and darkness being of evil or superstitions, His use of characterization of two key characters Proctor and Rebecca Nurse who are convicted and by the use of plot development, and also of reverend Hales conflicting views throughout the play. The quote sums up many of these points; it mentions Darkness, lack of sense and reason and finally the power that stood against innocent people of high-standing in such a terrible part of human history. ...read more.

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