The Crucible Essay Research Paper

The Crucible Essay, Research Paper

The Crucible

The Crucible was written by Arthur Miller during an era known as

McCarthyism. McCarthyism was a search, or “witch hunt”, led by Senator

Joe McCarthy, for Communists in the nineteen-fifties United States

Government. This “witch hunt” indirectly shed light upon “…one of the

strangest and most awful chapters in human history”: The Salem

Witchcraft Trials of 1692. The Crucible, by Arthur Miller, is a drama of the

true story which took place during the seventeenth century.

In The Crucible, the events flow naturally from one event to the next.

Everything occurs naturally from the mood of the characters. This story is

not contrived, but is based on a true story. This story takes place in Salem,

Massachusetts in the late sixteen-hundreds. The characters of the story

were superstitious and gullible, which allowed for the mass hysteria taken

place. The incident begins with the girls dancing in the forest, which in

turn, generates a witch hunt. The conflict was sufficient enough to keep

interest aroused. There were tension and suspense in the story, covering

basic human instincts and qualities. The story shows the human necessity

for survival, and the lengths which one will go to save his life.

The play opens in a scene of chaos; Betty Parris, daughter of

Reverend Parris, has slipped into what is now known as a coma. When

Betty does not awaken, the townspeople immediately turn to witchcraft

as the concern. Jealousy, caused by theocracy of the times, causes many

of the people to accuse others of witchcraft. Debates over property lines

occur; neighbors are at each others’ throats. Centering now upon John

Proctor, and his wife, Elizabeth, the story takes a turn. Elizabeth is

accused by Abigail Williams of witchcraft. When Elizabeth is standing

trial, Abigail now accuses John of the same crime; he is now to stand trial,

also. At the story’s end, John is hanged, and it becomes apparent to the

town of Salem that there is no such thing as witchcraft. As a result of

these occurrences, theocracy came to an end in Salem.

The ending to the play symbolizes the struggle evident throughout.

The Crucible goes a long way to help understand the tragedies which

occurred in Salem, as well as the tragedy during the nineteen-fifties.

Millers’ style of writing is very simple. He uses simple sentences and

words to make the reading easier to understand. The dialogue is effective

in sounding like actual speech. Miller created images throughout the

story which are hard to forget.

The Crucible has had over 500 performances, around the world. The

play is an engaging and timeless drama, with continued popularity not

only in the United States, but all over the world. Miller centers on social

concerns throughout the world. He expresses the human necessity for

survival, and the lengths one will go to save his life. The Crucible parallels

with the people of Salem, Washington, or even Nazi Germany. In each of

these examples, vengeance turned neighbor against neighbor, brother

against brother, and husband against wife. With the understanding and

analysis of these crises’, others in the future can be prevented. Miller

expresses the significance of mass hysteria in a society, and the frame of

reference people held. The universal theme expressed in The Crucible

deals with the intolerance of society. Because we, the people, are so

intolerant to others who appear differently, we begin to become

prejudiced against these people. Prejudiced, in great numbers, will in

turn lead to mass hysteria, as shown in The Crucible.

The Crucible is “a play of enormous strength and intelligence”-John

McCain, New York Journal-American. This story reflects the suffering

during human history. It reminds us that man is not perfect, and that we

do make mistakes. These sufferings we undergo, become to us, like a

crucible. The mass hysteria endured during the sixteen-hundreds, as well

as the mass hysteria during the nineteen-hundreds, should guide us

towards good judgement in the future. Hopefully, man can turn away

from petty issues such as these, and not take the lives of the innocent.


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