The setting of Salem, Massachusetts in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible is a setting that is accessible and relevant to the reader, as it is grounded in realism. Although it is different from our society, it did when exist, and for that reason assists us understand what can take place in a worry based society. The theocratic setting is grounded in realism and Miller uses this to warn us that history repeats it’s self, and may do so once again, as similar occasions took place in America in the 1950’s.
Miller uses Salem 1692 to show us a few of the ramifications of living in a worry based society, like having a good name.
In a fear based society, nobody is instantly relied on, everybody is evaluated by their name. John Proctor has actually had a reputation his entire life in the town of Salem. Nevertheless when he has information that might prove Abigail is not as good as she appears, he is contrasted in between admitting that he had an affair with her and destroying his good name, or viewing individuals he knows are innocent be founded guilty and keeping quiet.
He does not want to “blacken” his name in the town. So he keeps the information to himself about the affair till it is far too late, and nobody will believe him because his name is no longer excellent.
This shows that having a reputation was so crucial in this society that you would risk your good friends being founded guilty of witchcraft to keep your name ‘white’. Towards the end, when Proctor will confess to witchcraft, he declines to sign away his name “you have taken my soul, leave me my name!” He screams, and from this we see there is nothing more crucial to him. Likewise, Judge Danforth is fixated on having a reputation. We see this when he is not going to delay John Proctor’s hanging.
He understands that John could be innocent, however if he holds off the hanging, the town might question Danforth’s judgement. So Danforth would rather innocent individuals die, than the court’s, or his track record be put on the line. From these two characters, we get a sense of just how much value a name can hold. The setting is important in helping us understand this theme. Miller desires us to comprehend that in the close, fear-based village of Salem your name has so much worth and holds your whole track record. It needs to be kept ‘white’ as people make every decision about you based upon your name. It s outrageous occasions like this that happen in a fear based society. However Salem 1692 is grounded in realism, so we are required to consider our own society, and what actions occur presently as a result of worry. Take the Boston Marathon battles for example. The USA resides in consistent threat of terrorist attacks so when a battle occurs, most American’s and the rest of the world fast to assume it was the doing of the Middle East, when in reality there is no evidence at all to recommend that. Miller is motivating us not to leap to conclusions in times of panic or discontent.
In fear based societies, things frequently take place that we would now consider ludicrous, like suspicion being accepted as proof, Miller utilizes a setting that is grounded in realism to show us this. In Salem, 1692 people resided in continuous fear of the devil, witchcraft and spending the afterlife in hell. Villagers were so frightened of the power of the devil, and the horrors of witchcraft, that anyone who was acting with the tiniest suspicion, or was in any method various, might be accused of being a witch. This is since they had no other explanation for the behaviour.
This implied that individuals like Tituba (a black servant) and Goody Good (homeless woman) were easily targeted and founded guilty by power starving Abigail. We saw this conviction with an absence of proof with goody Osborne. The proof used to condemn her was that she did things like cause “a black coldness” to climb up Mary’s back, and for her to have a stomach ache, and she mumbled. As “Witchcraft is ipsofacto … an invisible crime. Therefore who may perhaps be witness to it? The witch and the victim. None other.” The accused witch’s word can not be relied on; for that reason Mary’s word is accepted as truth in the court.
Another seemingly ludicrous result of living in a fear based society is when Abigail and the women’ hysteric responses to people are viewed as evidence. Mr. Hale even admits that he has actually “Seen too many frightful evidence in court” showing that he takes these responses as strong proof and reason enough to hang. By using this setting with such extensive moral code, expectations and fear of the devil, Miller reveals us how desperation can cloud judgement, and when worry and “common vengeance composes the law” suspicion can be accepted as evidence.
We are more ready to accept what Miller is telling us here because it is embeded in a reasonable society that we view critically. Miller creates parallels to other occasions in history, and even now, to this genuine society from history to reveal us that history repeats. The Crucible occurs in a theocratic society, suggesting that the bible is fact and law, individuals make every choice in life to please god and go to heaven after death.
This obviously means that witches are genuine as the bible states “thou shalt not suffer a witch to live” hence individuals of Salem really believe “the devil is loose in Salem”, and witches must be demanded and killed. The Crucible was composed in the 1950’s, as an allegory for the occasions that were occurring in concerns to communists in America. In the 1950’s people lived in constant fear of communists– America was at war with the Soviet Union, so if someone was seen supporting communism, they were accused of supporting the Soviet Union.
The trials to found guilty communists needed very little proof and were very unjust, it is just since people lived in constant worry that these occasions might occur. Miller purposefully created direct parallels to the 1950’s with 1692 Salem. Having the drama set in 1692 permits us to see the text more seriously. We are personally eliminated from it, and can for that reason more voluntarily accept the ideas that Miller is trying to encourage us of. The text is a caution of the irrational things that come out of worry.
By utilizing this real event in history, and creating parallels with America in the 1950’s, Miller wants us to acknowledge that we are not above these people, history just repeats it’s self. We must have the ability to lean from the Salem witch hunt, and even 1950’s U.S.A., however even today we still jump to conclusions in tense scenarios. The setting of this play is grounded in realism, it did in fact occur and the characters simply represent human nature. As soon as we acknowledge this, we see that all human beings are capable of behaving in this ludicrous way.
In truth we still see this in today’s society in Guantanamo bay. As an outcome of terrorist acts versus the country, and the worry of more attacks the U. S armed force will question, prosecute, act as the defence council, be the judges in trials of people who are thought to be terrorist (typically by racist stereotypes, Muslim/Islamic men). This provides possibly innocent people a hideously unreasonable trial and additional confirms Miller’s point– That suspicion and accusation can be accepted as proof in afraid scenarios.
We likewise see from this that the setting needs to be grounded in realism, by developing links in events that took place in that setting, to other events in history, we are required to accept these concepts as real. Miller warns us through the setting of theocratic Salem in 1692, an allegory for America in the 1950’s of the irrational actions that originate from afraid situations and extreme societies. These concepts are accessible and pertinent to the reader due to the fact that the setting is grounded in realism.