The Themes Of Allegory In Arthur Miller's The Crucible

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Written at the peak of the Cold War, Arthur Miller’s play The Crucible reveals the haunting truth about issues occurring in society in the 1950s. Published in 1952, Miller’s play hit the stage in 1953 with mixed reviews and little success. After the Cold War, when not many Americans feared the possibility of Russia taking over the United States anymore, The Crucible rose on the charts and became a movie in 1996, winning a Tony Award in the process. In his work, Miller, a critic of communism, constructs an allegory to show the similarities between the Salem witch trials and Soviet Russia in hopes of opening the eyes of the American citizens who were blinded by the mass hysteria that communism caused. In the play, John Proctor, a man who has …show more content…
For example, some of Salem’s greediest members condemned innocent townspeople by pointing fingers and crying witchcraft in order to steal land or get revenge (Andersen 104-105). One character that truly showed the works of corruption in human nature was Abigail Williams. Young and intelligent, she easily caught the eye of John Proctor, who ends up committing adultery with her. This sin sets the stage for the guilt and immorality that begins to eat Proctor alive. Filled with regret and sin, he returns to his wife, leaving Abigail furious with his decision. She then decides that she will do anything she can in order to get Proctor back, even if it means telling rumors and lies that quickly spread like wildfire across Salem. As an official leader of the witch trials, Abigail soon becomes so drunk with power that she can get away with anything she wants (Andersen 102). Proctor, who presents his corrupted nature when he cheats on his wife with Abigail, redeems himself when he confesses to the affair and stands up for what he believe is right. The narrator says in the play, ‘The Devil is a wily one, and, until an hour before he fell, even God thought him beautiful in Heaven’ (Miller 35). This quote can be related to the way the townsfolk thought Abigail to be innocent until she herself “fell” and tore up the town with her power. As the corruption of human nature theme is laid on thick in the play, the author draws a parallel between Abigail and Joseph McCarthy, who was a main antagonist figure during the Cold War. Both people used the power and influence they had over others to benefit themselves (Andersen 81). Similar to the way Abigail used witchcraft as a way to get Proctor back, McCarthy used speeches to create fear in the American that communism was upon them so they would cooperate (Andersen 81). Arthur

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