American playwright, Arthur Miller, in his play The Crucible (1952), suggests that witch hunts still exist in American society. Miller supports this claim by drawing parallels between the Salem Witch Trials and the Senator Joseph McCarthy Trials. His purpose is to warn his readers of the dangers of mass hysteria. He uses emotional appeals (pathos) and logic (logos) to convince the reader that mass “hunts” are still a danger to Americans today. The main way, however, that Miller achieves his ultimate goal of demonstrating the dangers of individuality vs. ideology is through the vivid characterization of Mary Warren. Mary Warren is an example of an outwardly conforming character because in the play she tells Abigail that she wants to tell
In Act three of The Crucible (1953), Arthur Miller expresses his frustration at the perpetual power grab under the façade of justice. Miller uses juxtaposition, dramatic irony, and selective dialogue in order to show how in the struggle of innocence, cold-hard facts are often overlooked in exchange for the promise of influence. The purpose of the act is to demonstrate that in every play for power, there must be pawns to manipulate and facts to twist in in order to remind the audience to compare with McCarthyism in Miller’s time and how in all power plays, there will always contain innocent losses. The implied ethical argument lies in the court of Salem where it would be better to accept the truth and sacrifice power, or perpetuate a lie and
The novel, The Crucible was written in 1953 by Arthur Miller, which was based on the Salem Witch Trials existing in the late 1600s. In the play, Abigail and several other young women accuse innocent citizens of Salem for the action of witchcraft. During the trials, many individuals were unfairly persecuted; such as John Proctor. This event in history may be associated with the Red Scare, in which individuals were tried for their questionable influences of communism in the United States. When Miller compares the character of John Proctor to himself, the reader is able to relate the similar experiences that both men faced. The Crucible demonstrates the struggle against corruption involving the court, which lead to the death of many innocent individuals in Salem. The Crucible generates an allegory for Arthur Miller’s struggles with McCarthyism because of his similar experience relating to John Proctor’s battle against the Salem Witch Trials, and the relation between the actions of the court in both situations. Arthur Miller uses several writing methods in order to convey The Crucible as an allegory for his struggles with McCarthyism. Miller demonstrates how the Crucible represents an allegory for his conflict with McCarthyism by relating his experiences with the plot of the novel. Miller relates the novel to his struggles by stating, “Should the accused confess, his honesty could only be proved by naming former confederates.” (Are You Now… 34) Miller is explaining how the court
In conclusion, the Salem Witch Trials and McCarthyism both accused numerous people based on ambiguous evidence. In “The Crucible,” the Salem Witch Trials illustrated the gullibility of American society at the time. Similarly, Sarah Good and Miller were accused of crimes they never committed based purely off of spectral evidence. From these accusations, Miller’s passport was confiscated and Sarah Good was executed. Therefore, “The Crucible” served as a mirror reflecting McCarthyism in
By the standards of virtually any society, lying is an act that is almost certain to result in some form of contempt, hatred, or even ostracism. However, not all liars are regarded in the same way- there is an obvious difference of morality between a fraudulent politician and one lying to protect his own life. In his play The Crucible, Arthur Miller demonstrates the moral and societal differences between and consequences of different types of lies: A liar’s virtue is determined primarily by intention, and while some forms of dishonesty are more acceptable than others, truth under all circumstances is vital to true morality. Miller’s stance is a rational and realistic one and can be seen not only in his play,
“Your reputation and integrity are everything. Follow through on what you say you’re going to do. Your credibility can only be built over time, and it is built from the history of your words and actions.” Maria Razumich-Zec put into words the importance that society places on reputation. It has become clear that what other people think of someone is far more important to that individual than what they may know to be true about themselves. In todays society is very rare to find people that are content with what they are, despite what the people surrounding them believe. This notion that in order to be validated there has to be external approval dates back to the seventeenth century and earlier. During the Salem Witch Trials, men and women were killed daily due to the thoughts of others. In Arthur Miller’s Crucible, it is clearly demonstrated that reputation is a huge role in the daily lives of people.
Thomas J. Watson once said, “If you stand up and be counted, from time to time you may get yourself knocked down. But remember this: A man flattened by an opponent can get up again. A man flattened by conformity stays down for good.” Due to the fear fueling in the atmosphere during the Salem witch trials, a numerous amount of citizens allow themselves to be trampled on by conformity. Consequently, nineteen innocent citizens were hanged, and one brutally crushed to death. Arthur Miller’s The Crucible stages the theme of social conformity through the characters Reverend Parris, Abigail Williams, and John Proctor as they venture on a journey throughout the Salem Witch Trials displaying that joining society’s assembly of deceivers may preserve their lives, though not their integrity.
Liu XiaoBo, a Chinese literary critic, writer, professor, human rights activist who called for political reforms and the end of communist single-party rule once said, “Hatred is corrosive of a person’s wisdom and conscience; the mentality of enmity can poison a nation’s spirit, instigate brutal life and death struggles, destroy a society’s tolerance and humanity, and block a nations progress to freedom and democracy.” (www.brainyquotes.com) He asserted that hatred is what erodes and causes harm to a person’s own self-being, their friends and family, and the environment around them. Hatred can blind a person from seeing the truth, and instead of helping, they cause more harm. The Crucible, a playwright by Arthur Miller, illustrates the effects of what revenge, fear, and hatred has a role on hysteria. In Salem, Massachusetts, 1692, a community of strict Puritan rules had to be obeyed. Playing around, having past times were strictly not allowed, as many thought doing these things were related to the Devil, or Satan. They were strong believers in Christianity, and anyone who showed signs of evil, would be placed in jail or executed for the whole town to see. Reverend Parris, a minister of Salem discovered his daughter, Betty Parris, and her friends including Abigail Williams, dancing naked in the woods. The woods were seen as the only place to still be inhabited by the Devil. Abigail was in fear of what would happen to her if people were to find out what she had done. Betty
The Crucible is a historical fiction play based on the Salem Witch trials. Throughout the book, Arthur Miller compares the Salem Witch Trials to the McCarthy Trials through intensive side monologues. Miller’s purpose in adding the McCarthy trials to the play is to show that history is periodic because of the reoccurring patterns within the two trials. The Salem Witch Trials, in The Crucible, and the McCarthy Trials show that history is periodic because of the reoccurring personality types, grave consequences, and trial proceedings.
Further, as with the alleged witches of Salem, suspected Communists were encouraged to confess their crimes and to “name names,” identifying others sympathetic to their radical cause. Some have criticized Miller for oversimplifying matters, in that while there were (as far as we know) no actual witches in Salem, there were certainly Communists in 1950s America. However, one can argue that Miller’s concern in The Crucible is not with whether the accused actually are witches, but rather with the unwillingness of the court officials to believe that they are not. In light of McCarthyist excesses, which wronged many innocents, this parallel was felt strongly in Miller’s own time
In The Crucible, Arthur Miller writes about a witch hysteria among the townspeople of Salem, Massachusetts. Secrets are rife within the town, and suspicion rises against isolated families. Nosiness and a want to discover and exploit the truth about people arises among the population. Invading one’s personal business, however, can likely do more harm than good.
The quality most necessary in a leader and a catalyst for hysteria is the ability to manipulate. The play The Crucible by Arthur Miller depicts the events that occurred in 1690s in Massachusetts best known as the Salem Witch Trials. These events center on a group of young girls who are found dancing in the woods with a black slave. Among them is Abigail Williams, a 17 year-old-girl desperate to conceal her affair with a married man and escape charges of witchcraft. In an attempt to pull the spotlight away from themselves, this group of girls, led by Abigail, begin to accuse countless people of witchcraft and as a result 19 people are hanged. The Crucible serves as an example of an individual’s ability to create hysteria, as well as the factors that are necessary for the rest of a society to participate in it. Despite the negative puritan perceptions of women, Abigail’s accusations are still acknowledged and believed by important members of society. Furthermore, the combined actions of Abigail as well as the rest of the girls spark a movement of panic and frenzy among all members of her society. The way in which Abigail manipulated people using the shortcomings of her society in The Crucible, the strict religious and cultural values of puritan society, as well as the ability of the people in The Crucible to oppose hysteria demonstrate the factors that allow for an individual to create hysteria and other people’s willingness to go along with it.
Nature dictates that survival is the key to life, improving one’s own situation is in higher consideration than improving the wellbeing of a mass. Humans are naturally corrupted in such a way that they manipulate events to their own liking and prosperity. In “The Crucible,” written by Arthur Miller, characters in Salem are driven by self-promoting ulterior motives through righteous justification. Consistently, Salemites undermine others in effort to establish self-gain. This dissembling triggers a mass adherence for a selfish cause. Righteous justification for self-promoting ulterior economic or social gains are not only exposed and characterized by Arthur Miller, but are still relevant throughout modern society.
In a scene where Abigail is abusing her new found power she ruins tituba by saying .”She sends her spirit on me in church; she makes me laugh at prayer!” (Miller 44). In this moment Abigail who has shown a constant string of selfishness and hatred is taking advantage of someone who is trying to stop these claims before they get out of hand, thus failing and spiraling out of the hands of everyone. This connects to the actions Joseph McCarthy took to earn his reputation, he slandered innocent peoples names to gain his own following. These actions of Abigail mimic the ones of McCarthy in an abundance of ways greed, power, hatred enveloped each of them until they spent a lifetime ruining others lives.
Arthur Miller’s The Crucible is a play contrasting the time in which it was written, the Red Scare of the 1950s, to the Puritan society of early America. At this pivotal time in American history, with the end of World War II and beginnings of the Cold War, Republican Joseph McCarthy arose in the Senate to question the morality of his colleagues and accused countless government officials of Communist views. Flanked by the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), McCarthy cuts a swath through the heart of American politics, using fear and governmental power beyond his normal means. The 1950s echo much of what we see in Miller’s portrayal of the Salem Witch Trials in The Crucible, especially in the characters of Abigail Williams and the court of elders. In both the trials and history we see the same kind of response by the public to inaccurate and untrustworthy evidence. Through Miller’s portrayal of the Puritans and his analysis of the political climate in the 1950s, Miller’s main message is that U.S. History inevitably repeats itself. Even though the situations are not exactly the same, human nature drives people to respond in similar ways every time: fear, accusation, and often violence.