Exploration of the ways in which Miller dramatically presents the changing nature of John an Elizabeth Proctor.

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Exploration of the ways in which Miller dramatically presents the changing nature of John an Elizabeth Proctor.

        Early in the year 1692, in the small Massachusetts village of Salem, a collection of girls fell ill, falling victim to hallucinations and seizures. In extremely religious Puritan New England, frightening or surprising occurrences were often attributed to the devil or his cohorts. The unfathomable sickness spurred fears of witchcraft, and it was not long before the girls, and then many other residents of Salem, began to accuse other villagers of consorting with devils and casting spells. Old grudges and jealousies spilled out into the open, fuelling the atmosphere of hysteria. The Massachusetts government and judicial system, heavily influenced by religion, rolled into action. Within a few weeks, dozens of people were in jail on charges of witchcraft. By the time the fever had run its course, in late August 1692, nineteen people (and two dogs) had been convicted and hanged for witchcraft.

        For many hundred years throughout Europe ther was a belif in witchcraft. At times this would develop into hysterical fear leading to campaigns of persecution against suspected witches. Many of those accused were old women, some woul dhave knoweledge of herbel medicine or other folk reemdies. Supertistious people would assume htey had magical powers or were in the league with the devil. In a time of fear it wouldbe easy to aacuse someone you did not like it and difficult to prove innoncenece. This is shown through Elizabeth and John's relationship.

        Some scholar became experts in withccraft and beilved they knew how to identify witches. It was though witches wre agens of dvil and that they could change their shape. Mnay thousand of people throughout the middle ages and up to the sevieenteeth century.

        The Crucible (1952), in which the Salem witchcraft trials of 1692 are used as a parable for McCarthyism in America in the 1950s. This was a campaign against Communists, and as the anti communsist hysteria increased many poeple were stopped from jobs or prevented from working. The crucible was wriiten when Mc Carthy's anti communist campaign  was at its heighiest.

        Although most of Miller's plays are set in contemporary America, and on the whole offer a realistic portrayal of life and society, the overtones from Ibsen and Greek tragedy are frequently conspicuous, and the theme of self-realization is recurrent; in some of the works, symbolism and naturalism are unobtrusively combined. 

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        The central plot device is the affair between Abigail Williams and John Proctor. Miller's decision to set sexual jealousy at the root of the hysteria constitutes a dramatic contrivance. In an odd way, then, The Crucible is best read outside its historical context—not as a perfect allegory for anti-Communism, or as a faithful account of the Salem trials, but as a powerful and timeless depiction of how intolerance and hysteria can intersect and tear a community apart. In John Proctor, Miller gives the reader a marvellous tragic hero for any time—a flawed figure who finds his moral centre just as everything is falling ...

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