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What are the Key Themes of The Crucible and how does Miller introduce them into the Book?

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Introduction

GCSE English Coursework The Crucible What are the Key Themes of The Crucible and how does Miller introduce them into the Book? Introduction The Crucible is a play written by Arthur Miller in 1952. It was set in Salem, Massachusetts in 1692 and tells us of the Puritan community. Puritans were extremely religious and felt it very important that their children learned to read the bible as soon as possible. To be judged a good person, you had to know your commandments and have a good knowledge of the bible and respect it. All the communities' laws and teachings were based around the bible. The atmosphere in Salem is described in the book as 'acrimonious and joyless and was threatened by imaginary devils and the Indians'. The inhabitants of Salem had to work very hard for their money and the community's laws did not permit them to have fun. Even reading a novel was described as having fun and so novels, along with many other things, were banned, they were also obsessed with sin and damnation. As Salem had a theocratic society peoples sins were a matter of public concern. So prying into other's lives to expose their sins was encouraged; this is why Abigail was praised for speaking out. The title, 'The Crucible' is interesting because a crucible is a container used to heat metals at a high temperature. The main reason for this is to remove impurities from substances. This is used as a continuous metaphor throughout the book. Some of the characters attempt to rid themselves of their impurities by undertaking heroic and brave decisions and actions. ...read more.

Middle

Basically, the hysteria grew in Salem because people could benefit from it. (Sparknotes.com) A quote: "It suspends the rules of daily life and allows the acting out of every dark desire and hateful urge under the cover of righteousness". We find out that the accusations are false as we have a privileged spectator position. This is a dramatic device which gives us an insight into the truth of the characters and allows us to know what is true and what is false. Miller uses this to show us who is telling the truth and who is lying. As a result we are shown how out of hand the accusations have gone and also the character's motives for their actions. Reputation was very important in Salem. As a result the fear of being branded a witch publicly was immense. Miller uses Proctor, in Act 4, to show how morally important a person's reputation in the village was: (with a cry of his whole soul) "Because it is my name! Because I can never have another in my life! Because I lie and sign myself to lies! Because I am not worth the dust on the feet of them that hang! How may I live without my name? I have given you my soul; leave me my name!" There are many examples of how much the characters care about their reputation throughout the book. Reverend Parris makes a remark to Abigail in Act 1 stating that he could be forced from the ministry. "...But if you trafficked with the spirits in the forest I must know, for surely my enemies will, and they will ruin me with it." ...read more.

Conclusion

I personally don't know how the judges didn't see through the girls because when I watched the video I noticed a lot of things which prove the girls are lying. For example, in Act 3, Abigail claims that 'a cold wind blows' and blames Mary Warren for sending out her spirit. During this performance, John Proctor claims that Abigail is a whore and that he has committed adultery with her. Abigail immediately stops acting and desperately informs Danforth that she is not a whore or a lecher. This could have been a major downfall for Abigail if someone had noticed this. I am particularly surprised that Proctor did not. If he had the trials could have ended there and then and would have prevented the deaths of many innocent people. In addition to themes Miller also introduces motifs. A motif is a recurring design, feature or melody. Accusation, Legal Proceedings and Confessions are major motifs of The Crucible. These appear regularly throughout the book and are the centre of action in the play. 'This created a series of indictments even before Hale arrived' (Sparknotes.com) and a reason for these people to turn on one another (revenge). The only way that the 'witches' could be found was through the accusations and confessions. The trials only continue as a result of accusations. John Proctor attempts to discontinue the courts proceedings by confessing to adultery in a desperate bid to expose Abigail yet it all goes horribly wrong and Proctor himself is accused of witchcraft! Proctor's final courageous decision to die rather than confess to a crime he did not commit makes the judges rethink the whole case and decide to stop the trials before any one else died. Michael Day 10GO ...read more.

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