The Crucible, a drama by Arthur Miller successfully checks out and handles a number of enduring social and ethical issues. These issues are not just contemporaneous and contemporary, however also have featured consistently throughout history. The Crucible, written in America in the 1950s is a tragic drama centring the Salem Witch Trials of 1692. The drama itself is recommended to be an allegory for the anti-Communist “witch-hunts” of Miller’s own context.
It was published at the height of Joseph McCarthy’s anti Communist campaign and parallels are drawn between the witch hunts of Salem and the ‘witch hunts’ of 1950s America– specifically unsupported allegations, corruption and suspect and a spiral of fear and suspicion.
Nevertheless, the styles, concerns and problems raised in the drama can be used outside of any context, showing how the repercussions of hysteria are problematised in a general sense. The problems raised by Miller are dealt with in the play through a range of dramatic techniques and conventions, allowing the audience to excuse or condemn a lot of the actions, decisions, themes and issues raised and problematised in the drama.
Gender inequalities and the power relationships in between men and women, are explored and dealt with in Miller’s The Crucible. Females, in keeping with tradition are represented by a number of stereotypical functions. For example, the atrocious character Abigail is constructed by Miller as a temptress, and the scriptural discourse of the drama connects her to scriptural figures such as Jezebel. Abigail exists to the audience as a character with low ethical stability, driven by sexual desire for John Proctor and a desire for power. From a feminist viewpoint, the character Abigail represents the standard stereotypical views of ladies, particularly in a biblical sense. Thinking about that the audience condemns Abigail’s power starving nature and declines her viewpoint, the stereotyped views of women are condemned in the drama.
The huge bulk of those found guilty of witchcraft and ‘consorting with the devil’ are females, again revealing the stereotypical link in between women and witchcraft. Nevertheless, Miller makes sure that this stereotype is not always imposed, and the audience declines this problematised stereotype as ‘wicked’ characters such as Tituba and Sarah Osbourne are contrasted by characters of high morality such as Rebecca Nurse and Martha Corey, who the audience condones. In The Crucible, ladies are typically given a lot more company than guys because it is Abigail and her friends who call and essentially sentence the ‘witches’, while the males of society, who are represented by the judicial system, follow their command.
This paradoxical representation emasculates the males of the society represented and by breaking traditional stereotypes; the drama condemns male dominance in society, but also checks out the problems exposed when females are dominant in society. This problem related to gender dominance confuses and makes complex male and female roles within society. The classic power relationship in between males and females is exposed and problematised through the relationship between the characters John and Elizabeth Proctor. In Acts One and 2, John Proctor seems the remarkable of the 2, and for that reason the inequalities and male supremacy of the male-female power relationship are exposed.
However, as the play advances, Elizabeth slowly gains more agency, puzzling the power relationship and additionally breaking stereotypes. At the climactic point of the drama, when John Proctor reveals his adulterous relationship with Abigail and Elizabeth is employed to confirm his statement, he is confident, stating that his partner ‘can not inform a lie’. Nevertheless, as the scene advances and Elizabeth unwittingly condemns John Proctor and provides aid to Abigail, Elizabeth is deemed the more effective of the 2, consequently puzzling the power relationship in between the 2 and turning down standard stereotypes.
By Act 4, when John Proctor is about to be hanged, it is Elizabeth who is hired to conserve his life. Although she disempowers herself by calling herself ‘cold’, the 2 are presented in an egalitarian sense, when again making complex the power relationship in between the 2. The manner in which The Crucible handle the issue of gender inequalities further complicates and puzzles conventional stereotypes, therefore allowing the audience to decline them.
The social problems of hierarchy and class inequality are checked out and dealt with in The Crucible by Arthur Miller, as are the moral problems that develop from this inequality. In the context featured– Salem, Massachusetts in 1692, class roles are built as rigid and repaired. Salem as a theocracy includes spiritual leaders such as the fanatical minister of Salem’s church, Reverend Parris, in addition to the judiciaries, such as Judge Danforth as the exceptional sector of the simultaneous society, while slaves such as Tituba, who works for Reverend Parris, are dehumanised and represented as satanic and inferior to other classes.
The play deals with these inequalities by allowing characters from various classes to interact. While characters such as Tituba stay inferior throughout the play and those such as Judge Danforth continue to hold positions of company, numerous others gain or lose cultural capital and agency, enabling them to change classes and the class system becomes confusing as the drama establishes. Abigail, although initially viewed as inferior– being an orphan and single, gains agency throughout the drama. In contrast, Reverend Parris, who is built at the beginning of the drama to be effective loses his company as the play advances, culminating in his ‘broke’ end.
The drama makes complex and puzzles this uneven distribution of power and reveals to the audience the unpredictability connected with power. The partial collapse of the class system exposes the weak points of class inequality to the audience and is therefore turned down. The ethical problems related to class inequality and power are also exposed. The greedy nature of members of the upper class is problematised. This is embodied by the materialistic character Thomas Putnam, who uses his agency to found guilty others of witchcraft in order to gain their land. The audience condemns Putnam for this and therefore turns down the greed evident in the upper-middle classes. The Crucible, by demonstrating the flaws in the hierarchical nature of society expose ensuing social and moral issues to the audience.