Explain How Arthur Miller Uses Act Three As A Dramatic Device To Expose The Rivalries Which Exist In Salem. Free essay! Download now
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Explain How Arthur Miller Uses Act Three As A Dramatic Device To Expose The Rivalries Which Exist In Salem.
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Descriptionit Explains How Arthur Miller Uses Act Three As A Dramatic Device To Expose The Rivalries Which Exist In Salem.
In 1952, Arthur Miller wrote a play entitled, ‘The Crucible’. The play is centred on the witch trials that actually took place in Salem, Massachusetts. Miller wrote about the event as an allegory for McCarthyism which occurred in the United States in the 1950s. McCarthyism was a time of great anti-communist suspicion in the late 1940s and 1950s. The key connections in the two occurrences were that many people were accused on little or no evidence and all of it was inconclusive. Also, there was hysteria in all the places where the problems struck.
‘The Crucible’, is structured around four main themes which are, hatred, feuding, revenge and conflict of authority. All these add equal twists in the play. Hatred is a strong theme throughout the Salem Witch Trials. With strict, Puritan laws, people were bound to break them, whether on purpose or by accident, and the strong religious views shared in Salem aroused suspicion for the most trivial of matters. As a result of this, feuding was inevitable. Petty rivalries caused many arguments in varying situations, and the resulting tense atmosphere in Salem resembled a rumbling volcano just waiting to erupt. It was inevitable that controversial court hearings would bring out the worst in some people and possibly the best in others.
Before the play began many rivalries were already in existence. Adultery had been committed and aggressive disputes over land had occurred. Personality clashes and ancestral feuds had set families at war with one another. Consequently, when opportunities came along to make accusations which could result in hangings, many jumped at the chance with glee; thus setting up the third main theme of the play - revenge.
The final main theme of ‘The Crucible’ is conflict of authority. In Salem, Massachusetts, the people had no official, outright ruler of their lands; so trials were bound to spark a dispute about authority. Salem’s folk had a reclusive leader of their Puritan church, the Reverend Parris. He called in a learned Reverend Hale to investigate the witchcraft accusations. There were many officials of the court as well, including Cheever and the overall judges of the court, Danforth and Hathorne. All these characters had their own reasons to think themselves the deserved rulers of Salem. With many wise people living in the village, you could be sure that lots of heated discussions about who should be leader would occur.
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