'The Crucible' is a play written by Arthur Miller in 1953.

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‘The Crucible’

English Coursework Assignment

‘The Crucible’ is a play written by Arthur Miller in 1953. It is set in 1962 and based around a witch-hunt in Salem, Massachusetts. Many citizens are tried and hanged for suspected association with the devil and witchcraft. The majority of the accused are innocent.

The main story is based very closely on historical facts and is very accurate. The play contains a very strong link to McCarthyism. The hunt for communists and the hunt for witches produces an almost parallel, showing great similarities between the two.

Like Joseph McCarthy, the Salem judges prosecuted many people for suspicion of crimes with no significant background evidence. Once these people were accused, there was a weak change of them ever seeing justice and receiving an outcome of innocence. Very few people had the courage to stand up to such accusations, except John Proctor, who not only stood up for what he believed, but was prepared to sacrifice his life to save others.

John Proctor is a feared and respected man. He is forceful and dignified throughout the village of Salem. As soon as he is introduced, he shows his forcefulness by disciplining Mary Warren for disobeying his orders. He threatens her with a beating and she “tries to retain a shred of dignity” portraying that Proctor can reduce a person to the verge of tears with a forceful threat, again showing his power.

The fear of John Proctor is not only felt in Mary Warren, as the feelings of Mercy Lewis are shown as “afraid, but strangely titillated”, showing that John could be feared by many members of the Salem community, and the way that Mercy Lewis calls John by Mr. Proctor signifies the level of respect for him from the younger generation, showing that they do not want to anger him with insolence.

John’s mood seems to be lifted by Abigail. He is less lenient with her and it is quite clear that he has feelings for her. Later on there is a hint that there may have been a romance between then when Abby says to him “Give me a word, John, a soft word” giving her hope to expect John to give her affection and loving words. As soon as Abby says this, Proctors smile is “destroyed” signifying that he feels remorse for whatever love that he and Abigail shared.

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Abigail’s questioning sparks a tension between the two, however John does not lose his temper, he remains calm with Abby, and does not lash out with a threat like he imposed upon Mary Warren. This is another definite sign that John regards Abby highly, so much so that he will not do anything to hurt her emotionally or physically.

He wants to make very clear that things between him and Abby are over, sp he says to Abby “I will cut off my hand before I reach for you again” showing that he truly regrets what he did, ...

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