Marxism And The Power Of Property In Arthur Miller's The Crucible

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Marxism and the Power of Property in The Crucible
Marxism and property as power, greatly affect the town and people of Salem, Massachusetts, in Arthur Miller’s play, The Crucible. How people gain and use property, whether it is land, livestock, or wealth, gives them access to power and influences how they use their gained power. In The Crucible, this aspect is seen with many characters from Giles Corey to Mister Putnam. Some literary scholars believe “Miller takes pains to document property disputes behind some of the accusations in Salem”(Bovard 71). The people in Salem use their power to accuse others as witches, or to fight against the witch trials. All in all, Marxism is demonstrated in the way the witch trials were fueled through a strong
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They were involved because they represented power and wealth in society, and because they were seen as controlled by nature and people. According to the Medieval witch hunting manual, The Malleus Maleficarum, “the universal purpose of nature” included “man’s life and property should be kept intact” (69), so if something happened to man’s property, it was an act against nature, or the fault of witchcraft. Marxism came into the equation when people wanted economic power through possessing animals, and wanted someone to be at fault if the animal died. We see this at work in the case of Martha Corey. Goody Corey sold a pig to Mister Walcott, but it died soon after, and he wanted his money back. Martha Corey told him that “if you haven’t the wit to feed a pig properly, you’ll not live to own many,” and did not give him money (Miller 72). Walcott took her statement about his pig-keeping ability as a …show more content…
Giles gained power in his final days by withholding an answer to a question. This question was whether or not he was guilty of witchcraft. He did not answer this question because “he did not want to lie [and say he was guilty] nor not guilty, because if he pleaded not guilty they [the court] would hang him and auction his property” (Bloom 45). If he said he was not guilty, instead of confessing, he would die and his sons would lose their property, and thus have no power to their name and no wealth. If Mister Corey confessed that he was guilty, he would be alive, but his property would still be taken, and he would never hold any social power for the rest of his life, as his son’s lives and the Corey name would be tarnished and without property. So in this way, Giles Corey ends up dying through torture, refusing to give up his property and his sons’ right to that property. His desire to maintain his property, and his accusers’ attempts to force him to lose it, reveals Marxism. Economic gain and the power of wealth are in the middle of Giles’ fight.
All three of these instances show how Marxist ideas and practices shaped Salem and the witch trials. Marxism reveals how they came to be, and how the accusations and trials centered on power plays and struggles. Why else would a man teach his daughter to prey on those whom he didn’t like, or a man have to die because

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