What is there about the society of Salem that allows the girls’ stories to be believed?
What are the moral implications of this in Arthur Miller’s the Crucible?
The Crucible is a book written by Arthur Miller Americas most foremost playwright, born on October 17th 1915 in New York at 15 he experienced the Great Depression as his father went bankrupt. He released The Crucible in 1953 around the time when he was accused of being a communist spy. He named the book The Crucible because of the words many meanings. Throughout the play the characters encounter many problems which make force them to question their own selves and their faith. The term crucible can be used to describe the heat of a situation this shown when innocent people are caught up in the craziness of the witch hunt – a situation which was blown way out of proportion. Whereas in the final moments of the play another term for ‘crucible’ was shown which means to put to a severe test. Proctor has to make the ultimate choice, heaven or hell, sins or pure. Salem was an unstable town which was part of what made the girls stories to be believed, they were more willing to believe the word of a young house girl rather than the word of a respected member of the community.
This inspired him to write the Crucible. In addition of the accusations of being a communist spy he was inspired by he witch hunts, McCarthyism and Ancient Greek theatre/drama he created antagonists and protagonists , he even called the Salem witch hunts ‘one of the strangest and most awful chapters in human history’.
The story tells the tale of a Salem community who were very strong Puritans who had cultural suspicion and had no room for other beliefs than their own. “What are we Quakers”- Danforth. Miller presents themes of vanity, conflict in a biblical society all of which are heavily influenced by Ancient Greek Theatre. A society that follows the bibles every word.
Miller created a community that was strongly led by the bible and believed every word in the bible. They believed everything was explained through the bible even illness, illnesses were explained as the work of the devil. Since the bible mentions witchcraft and the devil “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.”- Exodus 22:18
This makes them assume they have to do the work for God as witches were thought to be the messengers of the devil.
“We cannot look to superstition in this…the devil is precise” this is use of dramatic irony and is a clear moral implication of the bible. But if anyone in the community spoke out of line or had a different opinion of the bible was accused of heresy.
“Theology, sir is a fortress; no crack in it may be accounted small.” Which meant that everyone should have good knowledge of the bible or they can accused if the devil.
These religious attitudes towards the bible causes the girls stories to be more believable. This led to the strong beliefs in witchcraft and the Back in those times witches were...