Here is an article originally published in the Spring of in Spectrum, a magazine for Christian teachers. A colleague by the name of Dr.
Miller bases the play on the historical account of the Salem witch trials. In particular he focuses on the discovery of several young girls and a slave playing in the woods, conjuring — or attempting to conjure — spirits from the dead.
Rather than suffer severe and inevitable punishment for their actions, the girls accused other inhabitants of Salem of practicing witchcraft.
Ironically, the girls avoided punishment by accusing others of the very things of which they were guilty. This desperate and perhaps childish finger-pointing resulted in mass paranoia and an atmosphere of fear in which everyone was a potential witch. As the number of arrests increased, so did the distrust within the Salem community.
A self-perpetuating cycle of distrust, accusation, arrest, and conviction emerged. By the end ofthe Salem court had convicted and executed nineteen men and women. Miller creates an atmosphere and mood within the play reminiscent of the historical period and of Puritan culture.
The inhabitants of Salem lived in a restrictive society. Although the Puritans left England to avoid religious persecution, they based their newly established society upon religious intolerance.
The Puritans demonstrated their faithfulness, honesty, and integrity through physical labor and strict adherence to religious doctrine. They considered material and physical wants — especially sexual desires — as the Devil's work and a threat to society.
The Bible and the minister's interpretation of the Bible determined what was considered socially acceptable behavior. The Puritans had no tolerance for inappropriate or unacceptable behavior and punished individuals publicly and severely if they transgressed. Miller captures the intolerance and religious fanaticism of the period and effectively incorporates them into the play.
Reading about the Salem witch trials and the paranoid frenzy going on at the time is one thing, but witnessing the trials first hand is quite another experience.
Miller permits the audience to do just that by transforming the faceless names from history into living, breathing characters with desires, emotions, and freewill. Miller did make adjustments to the ages, backgrounds, and occupations of several of the individuals mentioned in the historical records, however.
For example, he lowers the age gap between John Proctor and Abigail Williams from sixty and eleven, respectively, to thirty-five and seventeen, enabling the plot line of an affair between the two. Proctor and his wife Elizabeth ran an inn as well as a farm, but Miller eliminates this detail.
Proctor's friend Giles Corey was actually pressed to death a month after Proctor's execution; however, Miller juxtaposes his death and Proctor's.
Finally, Miller chose to omit the fact that Proctor had a son who was also tortured during the witch trials because he refused to confess to witchcraft.
Although no one can know for certain what the actual individuals thought, felt, or believed, Miller's incorporation of motive into the play's characters provides his audience with a realistic scenario that is both believable and applicable to society.
For example, when the play was first produced during the 's, as McCarthyism submerged America in paranoia and fear, audiences could relate to the plot because Americans were turning in their friends so they would not be labeled as Communists.
Although today's society may not be engaged in so-called "witch hunts," stories of an individual attempting to reestablish a relationship with a former lover by eliminating what he or she perceives to be the only obstacle — the person currently involved in a relationship with the former lover — are not uncommon.
This classic love triangle appears repeatedly in literature, not to mention the supermarket tabloids. Miller's exploration of the human psyche and behavior makes the play an enduring masterpiece, even though McCarthyism has faded into history.
On one hand Miller addresses a particularly dark period in American history — a time in which society believed the Devil walked the streets of Salem and could become manifest in anyone, even a close neighbor or, worse yet, a family member.
On the other hand, Miller moves beyond a discussion of witchcraft and what really happened in Salem to explore human motivation and subsequent behavior. The play continues to affect audiences by allowing them to see how dark desires and hidden agendas can be played out.
Abigail is a young woman who seizes an opportunity to reverse fate. She has had an affair with Proctor, who now refuses to continue the affair out of a mixture of guilt and loyalty to his wife.
Abigail takes advantage of the chance to eliminate Proctor's wife by accusing her of witchcraft, giving Abigail the opportunity to marry Proctor, while elevating herself within the Salem community.
Although Abigail enjoys being the chief witness of the court, her chief desire is to obtain Proctor, and she will do anything to bring this about, including self-mutilation and murder.
The Putnams also seize opportunity. The Royal Charter was revoked in and original land titles became invalid, creating a crisis of property rights.
Individuals no longer felt secure with their landholdings because they could be reassigned at any time. As a result, neighbors distrusted one another and feuds broke out regarding property rights and clear deeds of ownership. Miller incorporates this aspect of the period into the play through the character of Mr.
Like Abigail, a hidden agenda guides Putnam, namely his greed for land. He too, will stop at nothing to satisfy his desire, even if attaining his goal means murdering his neighbors by falsely accusing them of witchcraft so he can purchase their lands after their executions.The Crucible and McCarthyism Arthur Miller lived through the Red Scare, also known as McCarthyism.
After living through this era and being one of the accused communists Miller wrote the book titled The Crucible in The Crucible Written by Arthur Miller Wrote about the Salem Witch Trials that occured in The book was meant to relfect on the issue of . How to Find a Catchy Title for Your Paper/Essay.
In this Article: Article Summary Understanding the Structure of a Title Using Keywords or Images Using a Quote or a Play on Words Community Q&A Coming up with an effective title can end up being the most difficult part of your essay. The Crucible by Arthur Miller is a very well written account of the Salem Witch Trials and provides an incredible portrait of the complexities of the human soul.
Questions about McCarthyism and The Crucible? Learn all about the historical witch hunt for communists and how it relates to the play's theme of hysteria. The Crucible as an Allegory for McCarthyism. It’s not difficult to see the parallels between McCarthyism and The Crucible's plot. College Essays (23) ACT Science (21) Early.
McCarthyism versus The Crucible by Arthur Miller Essay example Words | 5 Pages. period of time was known for McCarthyism--a time of extreme anticommunism, lead by Senator Joseph McCarthy (McCarthyism).