The Crucible’s Relevance to today’s Society
In Salem like in 1950’s America any one who is different or who people don’t like the girls brand them as a witch in Salem. In America Senator Joseph McCarthy would brand them a communist. An example of when some when is accused of witch-craft is when Abagail says (like in many other occasions) “I saw Goody Sibber with the devil. ” I think this is the message Arthur Miller was trying to get across. As if he had openly accused Joseph McCarthy of using escape goats and causing a witch hunt he would have been branded a communist and at best would be out of a job and at worst he would be thrown in to jail or beaten up.
So ‘The Crucible’ is a subtle way to show what was happening in America at the time without actually relating to that time. In Salem the accused are the communists and the accusers are McCarthyists. So John Proctor the hero of Arthur Millers story is the equivilant of a suspected communist in the USA at the time of the cold war.
This is shown when Danforth says, “What are you? You are combined with Anti-Christ, are you not? I have seen your power; what say you mister” and he also says ” Will you confess yourself befouled with hell or do you keep that black allegiance yet.
” To which John Proctor replies ” God is dead! ” and then followed by, “A fire a fire is burning! I hear the boot of Lucifer, I see his filthy face! And it’s my face, and yours Danforth…. God damns our kind especially, and we will burn, we will burn together. Which is admitting to witchcraft or to being a communist in 1950’s America. Unfortunately the underlying theme of ‘The Crucible’ is true today if not more so. This is because of the introduction of easier and faster access to the news.
You can now find out what is going on in the world by TV, e-mail or the Internet. This means that as soon as some major crime is committed in the country or the world, people want who ever committed the crime as soon as possible. So witch hunts start and people look for scapegoats. A couple of recent examples of this are the terrorists act on September 11th in New York and Washington. Everybody jumped to the conclusion that it was Osma Bin Ladin, before anyone had a scrap of evidence and so he was used as a scapegoat.
So now there is a witch-hunt in progress. This is similar to the events of ‘The Crucible’, as there was no evidence of Witchcraft by the accused. Just the dilutions of Abagail and her friends. An example of this is when they pretend that Mary Warren is controlling them and then turns in to bird and attacks them. This is shown when Mary says “Mr Dnaforth” the girls (including Abagail) say “Mr Danforth”. Then Mary says “Never, Never” and then the girls say “Never, Never”. They do this as they are pretending Mary is using WitchCraft to control them.
Then the girls pretend that part of Mary has turned into some big bird beast. Abagail says “The wings! Her wings are spreading! Mary please don’t, don’t! ” then she says, “She’s going to come down”. They are saying that they can see what no one else can but they are just pretending to get other people accused of witchcraft and to make sure that they themselves are not accused of witchcraft. This is shown in ‘The Crucible’ when people who are well known for their kindness and charity are accused, arrested and finally are executed by hanging.
An example of this is Rebecca Nurse who is so well known for her kindness the people of Beverley know about her this is shown when Hale says, “We have all heard of your great charities in Beverly”. Yet even though she is known as a kind woman, because the girls accuses her and the town is so caught up in this witch-hunt she is presumed guilty and a witch when there is no other evidence of this. There is however mountains of evidence in her defence.
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