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The Crucible was written by Arthur Miller in 1953 and was based mainly around the connection between the Salem witch trials and the McCarthyite witch hunts;

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Introduction

ENGLISH COURSEWORK 'THE CRUCIBLE' The Crucible was written by Arthur Miller in 1953 and was based mainly around the connection between the Salem witch trials and the McCarthyite witch hunts; the events of 1692 was said to be used as an allegory for what was happening in the 1950's known as McCarthyism. McCarthyism refers to a period of paranoia in the US of the 1950's, when a number of politicians, public officials, writers and people involved in the movie industry were persecuted for allegedly being Communists (and therefore enemies of the state). Miller was concerned that too much emphasis was being put on the immediate historical context of McCarthyism; he wanted it to be seen as a way of exploring the trans-historical nature of the human 'conscience'. Events prior to act three consist of Reverend Hale's arrival in Salem, he goes to see Betty- who is Reverend Parris's daughter, she was said to be seen dancing naked in the forest with Abigail and the other girls, and is now sick in bed. When he sees Betty, the other girls- who just happen to be in the room at the right moment. Hale starts to gets 'confessions' from the other girls who start to accuse people of witchcraft. John Proctor though, as we know, had an affair with Abigail. In act one he starts to reject her advances and consequently Abigail shows more desire for him and shows hatred towards Elizabeth, the feeling is shared by both of them. Abigail Williams and the girls are supposedly making things up, possibly to protect themselves by accusing other people of witchcraft, even though it was them that were seen dancing in the forest plus they were naked. People believe them as they don't want to be accused themselves, an example of this would be Mary Warren. She is forced by John Proctor to say that the girls are lying, but the girls start pretending to see Mary's spirit, they repeat her words as she tries to convince Danforth that she is not doing anything. ...read more.

Middle

Reverend Hale has an important role in the play; he is the well-respected exorcist who is there to solve the problems in the town, with the two girls Betty and Ruth, but instead of solving problems he more or less creates them. As the play goes along his role changes as he decides he doesn't like how the court is dealing with the accusations, it is important that he starts to speak up about things in the play as you begin to see what other characters are really like, for example the change in Danforth- he still carries on but this time he looks as though he has something to prove perhaps to himself or the people of Salem. It is significant when Hale finally denounces the court as he is the 'prime' exorcist, and if he starts to denounce something, that's when its gone bad. 'I denounce these proceedings, I quit this court!' [He slams the door to the outside behind him] The stage directions makes the audience feel as if they were there, it gives them visual imagery, which adds to the effect. John Proctor, the main protagonist, is a man who starts off moral, yet pragmatic and flexible. John is religious, but not to the point of accepting what he believes to be an inadequate minister (an example being that he won't have his third son baptised). He thinks of Parris as an 'unholy' man who should not be a minister in his town. John doesn't go to church when his wife is sick or his fields need tending, he loves and honours his sickly wife - but not to the point of ignoring Abigail's sexuality (these individualistic traits are what land him up in trouble). Proctor is a man of experience more than a man of principle. He is well respected in the town but as we see in the final act he changes, we encounter Proctor as a different character altogether, he has become a Christ-like martyr. ...read more.

Conclusion

shows him saying the lords prayer as the noose is hung round his neck and effectively he is pushed to his death, before he finishes the prayer which is very reminiscent to Danforth- he wouldn't let people finish their sentence. In conclusion the dramatic effect used in acts three and four of the crucible keep the play going, it evokes lots of feelings in both the readers and actual characters in the play, it makes you have different emotions and you learn to love and hate each character in different respects. The play itself is very dramatic as it is based upon something also very dramatic, McCarthyism (hunt for communists), I think every individual character had a different meaning-I think they were based on the people involved in this mass communist hunt. It scares you into thinking what could happen if things were allowed to get so out of hand in today's world like they did in 1962, it could all happen again if were not careful. The play uses lots of different types of people from puritans (though as it is ironic, I couldn't give you an example) to Heathens. The play shows change in characters for instance John Proctor goes mad, Reverend Hale becomes a broken man and it all gets too much for Abigail that she takes off with Parris's savings- he denied seeing the girls naked in the forest to Hale when he really did see it. The plays has an effect on the audience in that it makes them consider all the innocent people that died, the ironic thing being that they were allowed back into the church years after they had died believing in it. Overall I think the pay is a good way of presenting the facts and fiction of McCarthyism In that it shows you how things get out of hand when people start thinking their better than anyone else, I personally think it shows you how unfair, unethical and inhumane a justice system can be. ...read more.

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