The Crucible Literary Analysis

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In Arthur Miller’s most well known play, the Crucible, Miller relates the tragic hysteria of the 17th Century Salem Witch Trials to the hype of communism in the 1950’s. Miller demonstrates that when authorities become corrupted by fear of suspicion and fear of mistrust, members of society purge their emotions on others and use them as scapegoats. As the play progresses Miller illustrates that there is something to be gained from standing up for one’s beliefs, no matter what the costs may be. To ‘stand up’ is defined as one or more people siding with and defending a point of view or belief. This is shown through the fates of the falsely accused John Proctor, Giles Corey and Rebecca Nurse. Instead of confessing to the courts that they were witches…show more content…
Miller doesn’t not rely on imagery much in the play, because it’s meant for live performance. However, there are incidences where imagery is used. Reverend Hale utilizes imagery to explain the theology of the Puritans to John Proctor, “Theology, sir, is a fortress; no crack in a fortress may be accounted small.” Hale uses the idea of a fortress to explain how a small fault in the Puritan theology can cause large problems. Another statement is made by Abigail, when she says to Proctor, “…and sweated like a stallion whenever I came near!” Abigail uses the image of a sweating stallion to describe Proctor’s anxiety towards her. There are also many ideas and objects used as symbols by Miller. These include the idea of the title, the crucible, the poppet given to Goody Proctor, the bird spirit of Mary Warren and the devil. The play is called the Crucible because this object represents what happens to the townsfolk. A crucible is defined as a metal pot that is used to melt and purify compounds at very high temperatures. A crucible represents the events in the town because it suggests how the town is boiling due to all the incidences going on within the society and how the court is trying to purify Salem of witchcraft and evil. The poppet represents the witchcraft within the play, because these types of dolls are connected to voodoo and other superstitious deeds that the Puritans considered evil. As it was found in the hands of the accused Elizabeth Proctor, they immediately concluded she was associated with witchcraft, this is obvious when Ezekiel Cheever says “’Tis hard proof! I find here a poppet Goody Proctor keeps.” When Abigail accuses Mary Warren of sending her spirit out to harm her in the church, Abigail uses the symbol of a bird and relates it to evil when she says “Why do you come, yellow bird?” Throughout history, bird
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