Themes Of

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Themes Of “The Crucible” Essay, Research Paper Arthur Miller enriches the reader’s experience of “The Crucible” by strategically portraying various themes throughout the play. Miller’s themes include social drama, personal tragedy, hysteria, superstition, greed and vengeance, authority and judgment, theocracy, justice, historical drama, and fear of the unknown. The theme of social drama is a direct result from the time period that Miller wrote “The Crucible”. The play was written during the Red Scare, when Americans were in fear of a Russian takeover of the United States of America. This is reflected in “The Crucible,” because the people in the play are in fear of some entity, the entity being witchcraft and not communism. “The Salem tragedy, which is

about to begin in these pages, developed from a paradox. It is a paradox in whose grip we still live, and there is no prospect yet that we will discover its revolution. Simply, it was this: for good purposes, even high purposes, the people of Salem developed a theocracy, a combine of state and religious power whose function was to keep the community together, and to prevent any kind of disunity that might open it to destruction by material or ideological enemies. It was forged for a necessary purpose and accomplished that purpose. But all organization is and must be grounded on the idea of exclusion and prohibition, just as two objects cannot occupy the same space. Evidently, the time came in New England when the repressions of order were heavier than seemed warranted by the

dangers against which the order was organized. The witch-hunt was a perverse manifestation of the panic which set in among all classes when the balance began to turn toward greater individual freedom (pgs. 6- 7).” The theme of personal tragedy exists today as it did during the period when Miller wrote the play. Today, personal tragedy can be the loss of a loved one or even a couple decides to go its separate routes in life. However, in “The Crucible,” personal tragedy is best personified with John Proctor. Proctor is the main protagonist of the play and he is well suited for the part. He was devoid of his freedom, privacy, and life. Act four symbolizes the final decline of Proctor’s social status when he is accused of walking with Lucifer and later confessing to it. He

was accused of being a wizard after it was stated by Putnam that he was trying to overthrow the court, with a deposition signed by Mary Warren stating that the afflicted girls were frauds. As a result of this accusation, Proctor would only be spared if he would confess to the accusation. Proctor did confess but later ripped up a signed confession, citing that God had hear his confession and seen his name on the confession (pgs. 142-143). Hysteria is the basis of the play. The people of Salem are scared, they are paranoid. Will they be accused and even convicted of compacting with the Devil? The trials pit neighbor against neighbor, sometimes for financial and social gain or even out of pure hatred for Goody Doe up the street. Hysteria is easily depicted in the early stages of the

play, when the afflicted girls call out the names of others they claim to have seen with the Devil. “Betty, staring too: ‘I saw George Jacobs with the Devil! I saw Goody Howe with the Devil.’ Abigail: ‘I saw Good Hawkins with the Devil!’ Betty: “I saw Goody Bibber with the Devil!” Abigail: “I saw Goody Booth with the Devil!’” Again, hysteria is depicted on page 130: Hale to Danforth, “Excellency, there are orphans wandering from house to house; abandoned cattle on the highroads, the stink of rotting crops hangs everywhere, and no man knows when the harlot’s cry will end his life–and you wonder yet if rebellion’s spoke?” The Puritans did not use science or logic, they relied on God and his book. Without science, they explained natural occurrences,