Free Essays on The Crucible: Theme Development
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Theme Development in The Crucible
The Crucible by Arthur Miller is a historical play,
but more importantly a social and psychological drama.
The various ways the themes are developed through The
Crucible are through characters, plot, setting and
The importance of the witch-trials is, according to
Raymond Williams, that in them 'the moral crisis of a
society is explicit, is directly enacted and stated,
in such a way that the quality of the whole way of
life is organically present and evident in the
qualities of persons' (Drama from Ibsen to Brecht,
1968). For Williams this is a dramatic device that
enables the playwright to explore the evil forces in
Salem society let loose by the revelation of
Rebecca nurse warns that 'there is prodigious danger
in the seeking of loose spirits. I fear it. I fear it.
Let us rather blame ourselves!' But her warning is not
heeded and a pandora's box is opened. We see the greed
of Thomas Putnam; the quest for revenge on those who
have wronged them, carried out by Martha Corey and
Abigail Williams; Ann Putnam's jealousy of the fertile
Rebecca Nurse and Abigail's jealousy of Elizabeth
Proctor; the ambition of Hale and Parris, both of whom
seek public approval; the fear of punishment that
initially motivates Abigail and the other girls; then
the revelling in power they display during the trial.
Above all The Crucible investigates the mass hysteria
which infects the whole community.
The notion of evil is central to The Crucible. To
understand the play without thinking about what Miller
is trying to say on the subject is not possible. It is
obvious that we are looking at wickedness as it is
after all, the story of a witch-trial, and involves a
good deal of both physical and spiritual cruelty. What
is not so obvious is that the playwright is setting up
two different models of evil. He shows us what people
take it to be, and then demonstrates that they have
got it largely wrong. They are looking in the wrong
place, chasing the wrong symptoms, prosecuting the
supposedly wicked and leaving the genuinely bad
The false model of evil is something defined by a set
of external rules- not going to church regularly, not
knowing the commandments, cursing and living out of
wedlock. These were the tests that were given to the
accused in the witch-trials and were proven guilty.
The model of good, which is still false, is that
obeying these same rules equates to good. By this
false model, Parris, the Putnams and the girls are all
pure. We stereotype, and ignore individual variations.
We confuse the external show with the internal truth,
and we get into the sort of nightmarish charade which
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Crucible Rebecca Nurse Psychological Drama Various Ways Dramatic Device Development Mass Hysteria Parris Pandora Approval
The Crucible depicts, one repeated throughout history.
For example, in Nazi Germany, the rules said that all
Jews were evil and Aryans good.
Miller's compassionate humanism does not give him a
soft-edged view of evil. On the contrary, he has
asserted that the real judges of the salem trial were
undeniably bad and he is glad they come across that
Miller seems to say, don't look for rules or
categories or groups of people in the search for moral
understanding. A preacher may be bad. Going to church
may not assure goodness. Indeed there is great danger
in overconfident moral certitude. Instead, look to the
inner qualities of each individual, and especially pay
attention to people's dealings with one another. Those
who exploit and harm their fellows, for whatever
cause, and in the name of no matter what glorious
ideal, are to be mistrusted. Those who help their
fellows, regardless of who they are and what
principles may be involved, are more humane and
worthy. The latter point is the obvious way to go.
The Crucible's main theme 'evil' can be developed
through characters such as Rebecca Nurse who warns us
of the danger of seeking of spirits and Abigail
Williams who is evil, commits lechery with John
Proctor, her jealousy of Elizabeth Proctor and accuses
innocent people of being witches. The dialogue that is
spoken between the characters shows an evil trait, and
some characters speak of evil such as Rebecca Nurse.
All these, and others help to develop the theme.
Essay about Themes in The Crucible
1294 Words6 Pages
Themes in The Crucible
In the crucible Arthur Miller takes the chilling story of the Salem witch hunt in 1692 and combines it with the issues of McCarthyism in the 1950s. The play reflects Miller’s ideas and opinions about
McCarthyism and what he thinks are the similarities to the Salem witch hunts. Proctor is the main character Millers uses to reflect the unfairness of the Salem and McCarthy trials and how the truth died in the 1950s. This makes Proctor’s role very dramatic and exciting.
Miller also uses a dramatic licence to make this even more so – adding the love to Elizabeth and guilt about Abigail gives the story an intriguing twist.
The whole nature of Proctor makes him an exciting and complex character; as a result…show more content…
The whole theme of Proctor’s affair adds a dramatic twist to the plot.
Affairs are stereotypically exciting and the deceitfulness, lust and lies that come into play with this particular example make it especially interesting for the audience. The wrong things done here in the name of lust have a certain attraction – it is almost intoxicating. One of the things that makes Proctor such an important character in the Crucible is the fact that he stands for the truth and fights for the innocents. His strongest weapon in this fight is his powerful speaking. His speeches and comments don’t just have an effect on the other characters in the play but on the audience too. “You are pulling
Heaven down and raising up a whore!” – this is a very strong statement as Heaven is the symbolises highest good and is a force of God. To pull it down and so denounce God and place a whore in God’s place is very dramatic because of the extremes, it’s almost absurd to the Salem society. Persuasive techniques are even used in his lines, by presenting his opinions as statements it seems as though they’re facts and unquestionable; “God is dead” and “they’re pretending” are good examples of this. This techniques involve the audience as they make the audience develop opinions about issues in the play and care about what happens to characters. Proctor’s use of emotion when he