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Why Did Arthur Miller Call His Play 'The Crucible'?

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Introduction

Why Did Arthur Miller Call His Play 'The Crucible'? This modern play was written in the 1950's by the author Arthur Miller. It is set in Salem, Massachusetts in North America. The story is about a town overcome by superstition of witches. A Crucible is also a piece of equipment used in science. This piece of apparatus is used to separate the metal purities from the impurities. Salem is like a crucible in science because in the play, it separates the pure characters from the impure characters. Miller uses the name Crucible as a metaphor. Miller wrote this play because of what was going on in his time. He linked his emotions to the Salem Witch Trials. In his time America was in war with Russia and was frightened of each other's nuclear capabilities. America was a capitalist country and Russia was a Communist country along with China. America was frightened of communism. Senator Joseph McCarthy was appointed as chairman of the House of Un-American Activities Committee to try and prevent communism spreading in America. He began to accuse many people of having left wing views along with many people accusing others. Miller was a liberal and was accused of being a communist because of his left wing views. He was furious at this and was reminded of the Salem Witch Trials 1692. He decided to write 'The Crucible' to convey the stupidity of the anti-communist hysteria. Miller wanted us to think about the stupid accusations during The Witch Trials and think that innocent people died for nothing but just for revenge or jealousy. The moral of the story is to not prejudge people or support something because of a majority of people already supporting it. ...read more.

Middle

I think this is very ironic because how could he call her a child after sleeping with her. Another character that is shown to be impure at the beginning is Giles Corey. He is shown to be impure at the beginning by saying 'He cannot be crossed, John Proctor I have only lasted four pound damages'. This shows him being a tell-teller and he enjoys prosecuting people. Near the end they both prove themselves to be pure. Proctor proves himself to be pure by admitting the adultery by saying 'I have known her'. This shows John Proctor being pure, but also showing that he is desperate and made a big sacrifice by admitting the greatest sin to save his wife and friends. This was a jump in tension and the effect it has on the reader is big because it is a big part of the story and this separates the pure from the impure overall. Giles is shown to be pure at the end by dying a hero's death. We know this because when Elizabeth (Goody Proctor) tells John about what happened she says 'They say give them but two words. 'More weight' he says'. This shows him being pure by not saying anything but 'More weight' when rocks are crushing him. This shows that he would do anything to save his friends and this also shows him as a noble character. I felt admiration for the characters and I felt sorry for them dying for no reason and died as hero. At the end of the of the play it made me feel this way, firstly when Elizabeth told Proctor about Giles' death and right at the end when Proctor gets hanged. ...read more.

Conclusion

Characters said things like 'we come not for your life' because Miller doesn't want to make the play straight forward or simple e.g. if he just wrote ' we are not here to kill you' then it wouldn't have the effect on the reader as much as the first sentence had because the first one is more formal and old fashioned. This shows that that Miller wanted the play not to be as straightforward and predictable, he wanted to add mystery to it. Miller makes characters refer to the bible because this helps the reader to understand the setting and the time it was written in: people were religious and believed in God and strict Christians forbided dancing! All the characters had Christian names. This might have been because he was trying to send the message out to the reader so they know the characters are very religious and their parents were as well. Miller's use of language conveys the ideas he is trying to by using words that relate to the idea e.g. if the idea is religion he uses words like 'God or if it is death he uses words like 'hell' and 'damn'. I think the play did end as I expected because I knew Proctor was going to die. I could tell because of the type of character he is (aggressive, independent etc.) and because he is full of pride he doesn't want to give away his reputation that easily. This links to the why Miller called his play 'The Crucible' because all the pure people died and only a few survived and this left Salem (crucible in science) full of impurities. - 1 - ...read more.

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