The Crucible by Arthur Miller Essay

1087 Words Nov 4th, 2011 5 Pages
“The conflict created when the will of an individual opposes the will of the majority is a recurring feature of drama.”
Identify such a conflict in a non-Shakespearean play you have studied and show how the dramatist deals with the implications for both the character and the society.

Arthur Miller in ‘The Crucible,’ deals with the internal/external conflicts of protagonist John Proctor, during the witch trials of Salem; showing the effects of “an individual opposed to the will of the majority.” Through the mass hysteria caused by Abigail, corruption of justice and weakness of man; we see clearly the effects of fear and how Miller’s work translates into his own situation, during the introduction of McCarthyism.

The most dominant
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This gives Abigail power; enough power to remove the only obstacle between her and John, Elizabeth, and instigates the witch hunts in an effort to have Goody Proctor convicted.

Elizabeth recognises the blackness of her intentions, and attempts a final connection with her husband out of fear, “John if it were not Abigail that you must go to hurt, would you falter now?” Empowerment of the oppressed is seen as the positive result of an individual fighting alone against the majority ideal. On the eve of his wife’s arrest, John is forced into action rising above his own fears and against society (or the mass hysteria of Salem). Judge Hawthorn sees this as an attempt to “overthrow the court.” Similar to the view of Joseph McCarthy, a U.S senator who sought to convince citizens of America that there was a communist conspiracy taking place; the United States continues to be a country driven by fear- recognised by both Miller and McCarthy to be a stimulant for action.

By the second act, the audience is presented with the full effects of fear. 55 have been accused of witchcraft and Salem is filled with fear of “the devil’s work.” in 1950’s society the original ten “Hollywood suspects” have accused numerous individuals in America of communist activity, in order to save their own necks. Societies often try to suppress individual

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