The Crucible Analytical Essay

987 words - 4 pages

Arthur Miller’s The Crucible incorporates narrative techniques to convey the central ideas of the text; an interpretation of the Salem witch trials, The Crucible is an allegory of the McCarthy era, detailing Miller’s criticisms of the political practice as a central theme of the text. Miller employs setting to establish the significance of good versus evil in a Puritan society under a theocratic government. Furthermore, characterisation is conveyed to reinforce the importance of reputation in the events of The Crucible. These narrative techniques, all of which highlight and elaborate on the central themes of the text allow the reader to comprehend the nature and response of citizens of a ...view middle of the document...

This parallels McCarthy’s allegations against anyone, regardless of their social status. Proctor represents the injustice placed upon citizens who attempted to clear their names. The hangings reflect the citizens during the McCarthy era who were blacklisted and excluded from society. This practice is clearly depicted in the play, similarly developing mass hysteria amongst the citizens of Salem. Miller uses The Crucible as an allegory of McCarthyism, criticising the response and reactions of citizens enduring a similar event.

Miller reinforces the setting of a Puritan society as a response and reaction to the central idea of good versus evil in The Crucible. Salem was a colonial town populated by Puritans who believed in the clear line between good and evil. This direct separation is represented through the setting of the play, specifically the Puritan town and the forest situated beside it. “The people of Salem developed a theocracy, a combine of state and religious power whose function was to keep the community together.” This backdrop allows Miller to utilise the religious nature of a Puritan society, and reinforce the good aspect of good versus evil. The forest is considered the devil’s residence, where witchcraft and other supernatural acts are practiced. The narrator explains that “the Salem folk believed that the virgin forest was the Devil’s last preserve.” Miller uses this setting to introduce the theme of evil, continuing with “To the best of their knowledge the American forest was the last place on earth that was not paying homage to God.” This connects to the response of the townsfolk after hearing of Tituba and the girls of Salem dancing in the forest. These backdrops allow the reader to comprehend the importance of the setting of The Crucible, and its effect on the reactions of a strictly religious Puritan society.
Miller incorporates characterisation to establish the theme of reputation in the play, allowing readers to observe the Christian nature of the Puritans by reinforcing their positions in society. Miller portrays Reverend Parris as a paranoid and villainous man. This...

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