Belonging Essay

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When an individual’s beliefs or values are contradicted by that of their society, they must make a choice as to whether belonging to themselves or to the group is more important. Miller explores the reactions of many characters to this dilemma, in particular Reverend Hale. Initially Hale is strongly respected and connected to the town, being described as “an expert”. He uses the metaphor of “Theology sir, is a fortress; no crack in a fortress can be accounted small”, to indicate his strong belief in the value of a theocratic society. Hale struggles to come to terms with the failings of this system as indicated by the juxtaposition of Miller’s stage direction “Hale in a fever of guilt and uncertainty” with his words “Proctor, the court is just”. This demonstrates that he was not able to instantly relinquish his connection to the Salem community, despite the moral ramifications. He loses all sense of self-respect as he encourages Proctor to “give his lie”, which directly contradicts one of the Ten Commandments reiterated throughout the play “Thou shalt not bear false witness”. The disintegration of both Hale’s connection to the community and to God is clearly demonstrated by the contrast of Hale’s joyful analogy of his former self “I came into this village like a bridegroom to his beloved, bearing gifts of high religion”, with his new perception of his role, “I come to do the Devil’s work.” Thus by examining the character of Reverend Hale one can see how the value an individual places on being respected and connected to others and how this affects their integrity and perception of self. Whilst The Crucible presents an extreme contradiction between the values of the individual and their society, Woolf’s novel explores the relationship between the two in a less polarised way. The title character, Clarissa Dalloway, is depicted as a British socialite preparing to “throw yet another party”. Her husband Richard’s comment that “she did it genuinely; it was a natural...
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