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How Does Arthur Miller 's The Crucible Explore The Place Of The Individual

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How does Arthur Miller’s The Crucible explore the place of the individual in society? Similar to Tocqueville before him, John Stuart Mill was critical about the American democracy and its resulting social pressures on the individual. The consequences of the tyranny of conformity sat at the forefront of his mind. Frank Prochaska in his review of Mill described the term as ‘a society in which scarcely any person had the courage to dissent.’ Arthur Miller draws on this idea in The Crucible by exploring the individual’s place in society as something firmly rooted and inescapable, as well as the individual’s place as capable of changing society through having the courage to deny society what it asks. The Crucible depicts the protagonist as having to come to terms with the community to understand themselves and their position within it. Miller uses the motif of social pressures and religious laws to set up the basis for the play, with the Salem citizens entrenched in a society that relies on strict social norms to maintain order in the community. An almost exact definition of tyranny of conformity. Individuality, here, is the ability to retreat into families and homes. In 1692, however, Salem is shaken at its foundations by greed for land from neighbours and insecurity in property. Furthermore, the Reverend Parris, head of the theocracy, is materialistic and is focused on his own needs over the communities. The struggle for the communities survival is what brings about the witch
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