Arthur Miller's The Crucible
Arthur Miller demonstrates the familiarities of the life he lived in
the 1950's and of everyday life we live in through his plays. He
communicates through his work to the way people are in society.
The extreme witch hysteria deteriorated the rational and emotional
stability of its citizens. This exploited the population's weakest
qualities, and insecurities. The obvious breakdown in social order led
to the tragedy that saw innocent souls hang on the accusation of
Miller's way of writing plays which relate to our lives and the way in
which we do things and treat one another is very interesting. He seems
to see the world a different way to most people and expresses our
everyday actions and the things we do wrong in another form.
The audience should see parallels in the play to happenings in our
every day life.
The Crucible was written in the middle of the McCarthy political
"witch-hunt" in America. The play relates to the fears in America that
the philosophy of communism was spreading there and would eventually
undermine and destroy capitalism and the American way of life. Almost
any criticism the government received, in the eyes of McCarthy was not
acceptable. A petition for communist sympathisers was set up in which
Miller signed. He was asked to confess to signing his name. He quoted:
"In truth, I had supported these various causes to express my fear of
fascism and my alienation from the waste of potential in America while
knowing nothing about life under any socialist regime"
The activities seemed to have been linked in Millers mind with
witchcraft trials two centuries ago. Miller saw these public
confessions as parallels with the naming at Salem in 1962. Similar
communist outbursts happened over two hundred years ago.
The Crucible includes many personalities including the selfishness of
John Proctor and the conjuring evilness of servant Abigail Williams
which all relates to the personalities of people Miller must have
experienced during his lifetime. All Millers work is symbolic of other
conflicts of conscience taking place in our very own society. Millers
earlier work such as- "The Death of a Salesman" - uses similar social
criticism and all his work relates to our living environment in which
we are all a part of.
Set against the background of the Salem witch trials of 1692, the play
centers on the story of John Proctor, a local farmer. The dilemma of
whether to save his own life or follow the dictates of his own
conscience. The basic plot of the crucible surrounds the facts of
John's adultery with his family's seventeen-year-old servant Abigail
Williams. John's wife, Elizabeth Proctor, who has been "cold" towards
him after John, was tempted into sleeping with young Abigail.
Elizabeth dismissed Abigail and the Proctor family kept the reason a
secret, as it would ruin John's reputation in the community. Abigail
Williams and some girls of...