“The Crucible” Essay Introduction
“The Crucible” was published by Arthur Miller in 1953, after the end of World War II. This period is marked by a brutal confrontation between ideological opponents, namely, Democrats and Communists. Each camp searched for fictional enemies and tried to get rid of them. It is enough to recall the Committee on Non-American Activities and the Cuban crisis.
But one of the most terrible chapters in the history of mankind is the Salem witch hunt. The defendants were innocent, and their severe sentence was due to superstitious fear and paranoia.
Conservatives observed excessive severity in morals, punishing for drunkenness and excitement. The people of Salem sincerely believed in witchcraft and called for it to fight. This story can be taken as a tribute to the power of fanaticism, which may cripple a lot of fates. A similar phenomenon is McCarthyism, turned communism into heresy, and its adherents into the dangers of America.
The play’s title could be called symbolic. Through it, an author wanted to convey a firmness and steadfastness of human convictions, even if they are erroneous.
Most of us are much easier to adhere to illusions than trying to correct the mistakes made. The writer in the artistic intention embodied the rigor of life, with which people collided in Puritan society and in the courtroom.
In his composition, Arthur Miller has placed three characters that highly value their reputation and are quite worried when they manifested not the best qualities in public. So, John Proctor is ready to do anything to preserve own authority. Lying is one of the acceptable ways to protect. Almost his entire life is built on deception, and he is not going to simply refuse from his “honest” name. Instead of frank confession, he chooses death, as many dead people are forgiven.
Another hero, Judge Danforth, also prefers to lie and weave intrigues. Every day he sends people to departure and continues to sign verdicts, even after he heard the truth. It’s easiest to go the beaten path than to start a new one. The innocence of people is a secondary matter. For the judge, the main thing is to keep own reputation among the local population, not confessing to crimes.
Inhabitants were persecuted as supporters of Satan, trying to destroy the church. Perhaps in such way, the residents tried to solve their own problems. The reasonable evidence did not matter. A priority goal is to destroy an enemy, even if it is fictional. It is these principles that guide Abigail, who slanders 19 people to the gallows.
But she is not alone in her cruelty. A lot of citizens use a situation to their advantage, accusing neighbors of witchcraft. For instance, there was a conflict between Thomas Putnam and John Proctor about the land plot. As soon as the latter was sentenced to hanging, it was Putnam who became the only person able to buy land. Or remember a case with Marta Corey. She was declared a witch because Walcott bought her a bad pig. Thus, a fair court a priori turns into a collective crime. Enmity is based as well as on gaining profit and on fighting against dissent. Thus, the Monk Hale sharply condemns an absence of the Proctor couple in the church, without taking excuses for the serious illness of his spouse.
Thus, “The Crucible” of Arthur Miller does not lose its relevance even in our time. Only now fears and unverified data spread with double speed, thanks to the Internet space and social networks. Users easily believe in gossip, not wanting to check their credibility. The author’s idea has gone through its time and again calls on society to correctly perceive information and get rid of pretense.
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