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The crucible is a play written in the McCarthyism era by Arthur Miller. McCarthyism was a movement in the nineteen-fifties led by Senator Joe McCarthy in search for communists in the government of the United States. A crucible as defined is a vessel whereby heating and melting of metal using high temperatures take place for sole purposes of casting.
Metaphorically, a crucible can also refer to an era in history where the society seems to be melted down and remolded into a new castby the forces of great cultural, social, and political changes. The same word has remarkable similarities with crucifixion, which is the major intention of Miller by choosing it to be the title of his play.
The plays interweaves Christ’s crucifixion with the picture of a bubbling crucible in it a man and a society: the predicament of arriving to the right choice of morality and the inevitability of attaining redemption through sacrifice. These two themes, certainly, occur in the amplified struggle between good and evil.
The crucible puts to lime light countless enduring issue that affects our society at large. These issues include honor and integrity, power issues and its abounding corruption, the characteristics of excellence and wickedness, and the likelihood to evade all sorts of problems by creation of scapegoats. This paper aims at showing how the crucible exposes the above named issues in a dramatic fashion.
What issues are being adressed
The issues of honor and integrity are depicted very well in the Crucible. Conscience is an inward sense of decency which propels most people towards what we term as being right(Miller 1). Nevertheless, in moment of public discord, we end up give our consciousness the rear seat which is naturally expected of us.
For one to stand up for the right thing even in the most challenging opposition, it asks for a strong will of conscience(Miller 2). Although taking such an action is perceived as noble and honorable in retrospection, it is rarely received well by the majority in real and actual events. Miller handles the issue of integrity and honor by bring the character of proctor.
How the issues are handled
The reason as to why proctor was hanged, it was because he chose to uphold his integrity at the end. If proctor had chosen to compromise his integrity by confessing thus lying, he would not have been blamed by the audience. Proctor realized that by compromising he would betray his close friends therefore he chose to sacrifice his life for his conscience.
By following his conscience, and sacrificing his life, proctor became a real martyr before the audience eyes (Miller 3). This trend repeats itself even in our day to day life. We are very quick at applauding those who chose to uphold their integrity but we do not have enough strength of moral fiber to do so. The death of proctor turns out to be a moral exclamation point, and the modern audiences would be affected profoundly(Archer 5).
A large part of the play is dominated by the issues of power. Domineering criminals in the play have power possession and this prompt Miller to sound a warning on the corrupting qualities behind power. This is depicted clearly when Abigail and the other group of girls after realizing that they posses great power, they seek to use it for their own benefits.
Danforth possessesthe greatest power in the play, and he had the capacity to declare the proceedings at any one given time for the irrationality they were in (Archer 7). However, even at the final point when his actions were plainly and clearly not upright he preferred to proceed with his judgment.
The crucible playdisplayed how excess power is harmful and dangerous, since the temptation is ready waiting to be abused. The individuals in power in Salem, when scrutinized under theocratic government justification are found to absolutely abuse power, and in process destroying innocent people. This gives a clear illustration of how the law is not always correct, and if that is the case, we are supposed to stand up to it(Bly 2).
Proctor did exactly that by challenging the court. Power does not usually land on the principled or the prudent, but rather in the control of self centered individuals. Today In our very democratic governments, the authorities are responsible to the entire society for the things they decide to do, and therefore, are under control to a given degree. From the play, we can see clearly that a position assuming excess power and having no oneto be responsible to tends to be corrupted by that power.
It has always been noted that,numerous societies come up with some sort of scapegoat for any atrocity that they face. At that particular time,Salem was notan exception (Bly 5).
At that period, the population was becoming uncomfortable with the extreme measures taken by the government to ascertain that they never deviated, and this caused general crisis. Danforth desire to control this crisis could have led him to execute the condemned ‘witches’ to a point far beyond any comprehension of therational mind would know that the actions were not right(Miller 2).
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Danforth might have desired to show the population how rebels like Proctor were punished and the execution through hangings could have acted as warning to anyone planning to carry out a social upheaval. As a matter of fact, the devil has always served as a very easy scapegoat. Thebehavior to always find a scapegoats goes on even today, and there is always someone who takes the blame on our behalf.
Much had to be offered to the audience by the play Crucible in 1996. The issues addressed by the play are very much similar to the issues facing our modern world. There is much the modern audience canidentify with the issue of corruption and power, integrity and honor,the issue of rule governing the society and the methods used to condemn those people who deviate from the rulestogether with our burning desires to blame others by creating a scapegoat.
Important issues to the Americans were addressed by the Crucible. The crucible exposed what the world in general is facing in real sense, people in power are manipulating powers bestowed on them to control other people and impose ideologies which are not sensible. Hunger for power and control have led to people committing crimes against humanity.
Also, the inability of people to withhold their integrity has caused innocent people to suffer in the place of those guilty for committing an atrocity. People in power hide under the shadow of authority to oppress the weak and vulnerable. The crucible has played a very important role in addressing what is actually happening in the world.
Archer. The Crucible: Theme. Web.
Bly, William.Arthur Miller’s The Crucible. USA: Barron’s Educational Series, 1984.
Bradford, Wade. The Crucible – A Challenging Masterpiece. https://www.thoughtco.com/the-crucible-a-challenging-masterpiece-2713659 21 October 2011.
Miller, Arthur. The Crucible. A&C Black, 2010.