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Comparing Vinegar Tom C. Churchill And The Crucible A. Miller

1466 words - 6 pages

The Crucible is a naturalistic play by Arthur Miller set in a town called Salem and based on true events. The play inspired by the Salem witch trials shows Miller’s personal views and many popular views on McCarthyism. The naturalistic style of the play evokes the audiences emotions and allows the audience to sympathise with the characters. The play also has a sense of realism, illustrating the social and domestic problems of everyday life. The main character John Proctor was said to be a reflection on the situation Arthur Miller saw himself in and portrays many of the emotions he had the time from the McCarthy trials. The crucible focuses on the problems caused by mass hysteria. Similarly, Vinegar Tom a feminist play written by Caryl Churchill written in 1976, also focuses on witchcraft. The play is a non-naturalistic style and is shown using features of Bertolt Brecht’s epic theatre, for example the use of song and choral movement. The play was inspired by the women’s rights acts of the 1970’s. There are many similarities between the two plays, the first being the plot of the two plays both being about witchcraft and although different styles of theatre are used the same views are shown.

There are many evident differences between the two plays. Firstly, the time period and location in which they are set. The Crucible set in the 17th century town called Salem in America, however Vinegar Tom was set in London, England. The set of the play is important as Salem was a puritan town meaning religion was strict and disciplined. The word of God “the bible” is your authority. There would be no dancing, theatre or entertainment. Sin is a crime and crime is a sin. And most importantly to the play you would believe in witchcraft and the devils works and women are associated with these sins. You would believe witches should be hunted down and put to a public trial. The plays differ in the views mainly due to the different location and traditions. Vinegar Tom shows the towns methods to finding witches in England and the differences in punishments.

The most important similarity are the story lines, both plays chose a theme of witchcraft yet use the theme to focus on different aspects of either why they accured or the effects of the witch hunts. Vinegar Tom focuses on the clear inferity of women in the 17th century. Churchill makes clear the difference between men and women, and how Packer is in charge of the trials and decides whom may be a witch or not, whereas the women in the play are accused. Whereas in The Crucible the focus on sexism is not evident as male characters such as John Proctor and Giles Corey are both killed for suspision of compacting with the devil. The Crucible has a clear focus on mass hystiria, and this is shown through the young girls Abigail Williams and Mary Warren starting the suspicion that the devil is lose in Salem.
As the plots of both plays are extremely similar, characters such as Danforth in The Crucible and Packer...

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