Power-The Crucible Vs 1984 Essay, Research Paper
The Girls Power in The Crucible and the Inner Party s Power in “1984″
At face value, the concepts discussed in Orwell s “1984″ are far removed from those in Miller s play The Crucible . One is a not-so optimistic view of the future, while the other demonstrates a rather low point in early American history. However, upon further examination, there is evidence that the notion of delegation of power is somewhat similar between the two.
Compared to that of the girls, the means by which the crown of power is obtained by the Inner Party is ambiguous, and outside the scope of the novel. Orwell s intention is to focus not on how the ruling group gains power, but on the actions that the group is capable of performing. In fact, two major goals of the Party are to conquer the whole surface of the earth and to extinguish…the possibility of independent thought. The Party wants total, and not partial, domination over the entire population, and thus, to be able to control everyone and everything. In the timeframe of the novel, the Party is very close to accomplishing this. In The Crucible it is, however, quite different. Miller mentions that vain enjoyment or anything similar to it was forbidden, and that time off only meant that the people must concentrate even more upon prayer. The Puritan society, based on strict religious principles, did not allow any kind of personal enjoyment or freedom. The restraints placed on the girls by this demanding society can be considered at least a contribution to, if not the main reason for, the girls outlandish behavior.
In 1984, the Inner Party has control of the people from the outset, and is not afraid to impose its sense of justice on the rest of the population. The same is true that, once they recognize the extent of their control, the girls in The Crucible demonstrate their newfound power. Proctor, talking about Abigail, says that the girl s a saint now , and that it is not easy to prove she s fraud. Abigail, as well as the other girls, is highly regarded by the community for doing what appears to be God s work. Proctor, however, knows that she is making accusations out of spite and vengeance, but has little evidence to prove his case. At first the girls action were done out of rebellion against an over-bearing society, but as more and more are accused, the girls start to seek revenge on the adults in their lives who have oppressed or angered them and who, until now, they were bound to obey unfailingly. Elizabeth tells Proctor that Abigail thinks to kill (her) and then to take (her) place. Now that Abigail has the ability to act as a virtual one-person court system, Elizabeth fears that she will take out personal grudges on her, in order to get close to Proctor. Here, the girls justification for their actions changes form to one more serious than before. They now have the power and support from the community to accuse others of witchcraft, and so they act the way that most children would act; they use all of their power to get what they want.
There are similarities between the two works in the acquisition and use, as well as the loss or weakening of power. In both 1984 and The Crucible there is, for the most part, a single person that challenges the members in power. In 1984, it is Winston, who commits the ultimate thoughtcrime against the Party , and thus questions the authority of the Inner Party. Winston begins a diary, the very intention of which is punishable by
death. Although it is evident that he cannot truly challenge the power of the Party, he attempts to weaken it, risking his own life in the process. In The Crucible , Proctor is very much like Winston in 1984. He knows that Abby ll charge lechery on (him) and that she may ruin (him) with it , if he accuses her of murder. Although placing his reputation in serious jeopardy, Proctor decides to confront Abigail in court. He does this because he is the only one with enough courage to challenge the girls on their power to accuse. He realizes that he is putting himself at risk, but continues to try to unmask justice and dissolve the power that the girls hold over the town.
The mass hysteria brought about by fear of witchcraft in The Crucible leads to an upheaval in people’s sense of right and wrong and thereby obscures the course of justice. In this time of confusion, mere children are given the power to judge the adults of the community. Being in a sterile Puritan environment, the girls seek more freedom, and, given the power to obtain it, they lash out against the adults and accuse them of witchcraft. This abuse of power corresponds with that of the Inner Party in 1984. In my opinion, both of these are examples that serve as a warning against how power is delegated in a society, and consequences involving its misuse. That is because it holds true that he who has the power to do great things also has the power to commit atrocities.