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

Themes in 'The Crucible'

Extracts from this document...


In the crucible Arthur Miller takes the chilling story of the Salem witch hunt in 1692 and combines it with the issues of McCarthyism in the 1950s. The play reflects Miller's ideas and opinions about McCarthyism and what he thinks are the similarities to the Salem witch hunts. Proctor is the main character Millers uses to reflect the unfairness of the Salem and McCarthy trials and how the truth died in the 1950s. This makes Proctor's role very dramatic and exciting. Miller also uses a dramatic licence to make this even more so - adding the love to Elizabeth and guilt about Abigail gives the story an intriguing twist. The whole nature of Proctor makes him an exciting and complex character; as a result this makes him entertaining to the audience and his complexity keeps the audience enthralled throughout the play. His personality is not boring or simple. He has a quick temper and is often angry, it seems he can't control his feelings. "?turning on her, rifle in hand? I will curse her hotter than the oldest cinder in hell." This has the effect of exciting the audience and adds interest (not to mention tension with this particular line) ...read more.


This techniques involve the audience as they make the audience develop opinions about issues in the play and care about what happens to characters. Proctor's use of emotion when he speaks is very dramatic and can, with the right actor be very moving. It would seem that Arthur Miller is trying to provoke feeling in the audience. John Proctor is also important to the play as he gives it a moral structure distinguishing different characters as good or evil. John fights for the innocents and for truth and because these are seen as good forces and Proctor is fighting for them this makes him a 'goodie' or good force. The fact that something which opposes good is evil means that anyone who opposes Proctor and so goodness is a evil force (a baddie). This means that Abigail is an evil force or 'baddie' because she opposes Proctor and Proctor is a 'goodie' even though Abigail is almost a victim because she could be seen as trying to get her love back and Proctor may have just lead her along. Another role of John is to add more human motives to the plot of the play. ...read more.


The similarity between McCarthyism and the Salem witch hunts adds drama and excitement for the audience because it relates the story to modern times. This would shock the audience in the 1950s because they think, "Wow, this is almost happening now" But this does not have as much potency in the 21st century as few people, especially in England, know about McCarthyism and those that do think that it has no relevance to them. John Proctor is the character which the audience relate to and have opinions about the most. They see him fight although he stands to loose everything and admire his courage. They see him battle against himself to sign a confession or tell the truth about Abigail and respect his conviction. They see him become almost a martyr or tragic hero as he dies for his belief in the truth and his pride in his name. These things add drama, excitement, structure and interest to the plot of the Crucible. He has a fatal flaw, whether it be his pride, attraction to Abigail or trust in Elizabeth, but this means the audience can relate to him. The Crucible is a story of Proctor's personal tragedy but it also a story of the Salem witch hunt, and of McCarthyism. Miller strikes a balance between these things to get the plot which makes up the Crucible. 1281 ...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. The Crucible - summary.

    Miller establishes that it takes only a simple accusation for a person to be convicted of witchcraft. Thomas Putnam uses this for economic gain, coercing his daughter into accusing George Jacobs so that he may purchase his land once Jacobs has been executed.

  2. To what extent can 'The Crucible' be viewed as a Classical Tragedy?

    The next scene, which we chose to enact, was Tituba being accused of witchcraft and then Abigail, Betty and the other girls accusing numerous people of witchcraft. We then showed the relationship between Elizabeth and John before he is accused of witchcraft in the scene where Elizabeth cooks dinner for John.

  1. Crucible confession

    It also shows the idea of faith because of what is written on it. It says that John admits to seeing the devil. This shows the audience of what a big crime this was at the time, linking the themes of faith to legal proceedings.

  2. Examine miller's presentation of the marriage of John and Elizabeth proctor in the crucible. ...

    Crucibles are often also used to remove impurities from a substance, so that only the pure matter remains. The relevance of the title is apparent in many of the themes and issues of the play, and is demonstrated through striking imagery and the actions of characters that Miller portrays to us.

  1. John Proctor - A Tragic Hero To what extent is John Proctor the most ...

    she is being blackmailed and encouraged into confessing: "TITUBA: I have no power on this child, Sir. HALE: You most certainly do, and you will free her from it now!" In this instance Tituba cannot resist because she is merely a slave and Hale is her superior.

  2. Does Miller's presentation of Proctor make the ending of 'The Crucible' inevitable?

    This does not make his death foreseeable, as he seems to be an obvious sinner. His insensitive nature is shown in the way that other members of the village of Salem are scared of him, 'afraid of him and strangely titillated', and more importantly it is expressed by the heartless

  1. One of the main themes in the play is the conflict between good and ...

    For example when Betty is pretending to be ill and he is speaking with Mr Putnam and Parris. During this conversation Proctor addresses the fact that Parris only talks about the Devil in church instead of God. He makes it clear that he does not believe the devil had take

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

    Proctor is a tragic hero because order has been restored at the end of the play, but tragically only as the result of Proctors death. ?I'll tell you what's walking Salem - vengeance is walking Salem. We are what we always were in Salem, but now the little crazy children

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