Miller's Presentation Of The Theme Of Greed And Envy Within The Crucible

1698 words - 7 pages

Miller's Presentation of the Theme Of Greed And Envy within The Crucible

'The Crucible' was written in 1953 by Arthur Miller in the time of the
cold war, although the play was set in 1692. The play is about a town
called Salem in America and about the witch-hunts that took place
there. Because it was written in this time period there is a feeling
of mistrust, greed and envy echoed in the play. Arthur Miller plays on
these feelings and produces a theme of greed and envy that is critical
to the whole play. I will be discussing this theme further.

Miller first introduces the theme of greed and envy by creating many
social tensions in Act 1. We can tell there are social tensions
because of the way the people speak to each other, such as when Mr
Putnam says to Mr Parris '"No witchcraft! Now look you, Mr Parris -"'
(Pg 10.) This shows us that Parris and Putnam must have a history
between them of unfriendly feelings, as not many people would dare
stand up to a minister. This unfriendliness is confirmed by the piece
of analytical text Miller has included (pg 11) to help us understand
it better. In this piece of text he writes, 'Some time before, Thomas
Putnam's brother-in-law, James Bayley, had been turned down as
minister of Salem.' This gives us the idea that Putnam is resentful of
Mr Parris, because Parris acquired the job Putnam's brother-in-law
would have got.

Another example of social tension is when Mrs Putnam says, "You think
it God's work you should never lose a child, nor a grandchild either,
and I bury all but one?" This is a sarcastic comment from Mrs Putnam
to Rebecca Nurse and it shows that Mrs Putnam is bitter and blames
Rebecca Nurse for her children's deaths. An audience might react to
these social tensions by becoming more involved with the play and
resenting or accepting the characters as if they were real life
people.

We can tell there are social tensions between most of the characters
because of the stage directions too. For instance when Proctor and
Parris are having an argument (pg 25) there is a stage direction that
says 'Proctor goes angrily to the door and turns to Corey with a
smile.' Because of this direction we know that what Proctor is about
to say is a taunt to Parris to evoke an emotion. Whereas, if the stage
direction was not there we could interpret what he is going to say as
having some different meaning. It is important to have this stage
direction at this point to show the audience that there are social
pressures within the play between the characters.

A director could choose to interpret these authors' notes about social
status in many ways; such as he could subtly merge the notes into the
play by changing the speech or actions of the characters. Another way
they could interpret these notes, are with a PowerPoint presentation
where the...

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