Irony Salem Witch Trials

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Silence has pervaded every imaginable recess in the old dilapidated courthouse. A hundred silent onlookers hold their breath in baited anticipation. Suddenly, the dull sound that only wood can make as it slams into an desk echoes for what may as well be all eternity. A single man garners the attention of two hundred eyes as he unintentionally clears his throat. However his lips only are able to take form around one bloodcurdling word: guilty. Although of what crime depends on the time period of the aforementioned case, for trials such as these have occurred in American History not once but twice. The first began back in the 1600's in a little town known as Salem Massachusetts, where people were killed for crimes of witchcraft. The second instance, while not quite as known for bestowing rigor mortis still put ruin on the lives of many. Trials in the 1950's fueled by McCarthyism and the idea that communism was invading the United States led to the blacklisting of many people as supposed socialists. Arthur Miller saw the real story of the trials for supposed unamericans during his time and he set about making it known to the public. However, had miller outright stated his views he would have found himself in the same position as those who's stories he tried to tell. Therefore he devised a creative solution; he wrote a story based on events in the Salem witch trials that is nearly perfectly symbolic of the McCarthyism trials. Miller's extensive [use of] irony in the crucible reveals the actual motives behind events carried out during the Salem witch trials, and thereby he exposes the dark truth of what happened during 1950's McCarthyism trials on Unamerican activities. Even in the very beginning Miller wastes no time in describing the abject of his play. Some circumstances surrounding the ritual committed by the girls are near perfect representations of dramatic irony, that bring to light innocent people accused during both sets of trials. Most obvious concerns the girl's lies about the nature of their time spent together it the woods. Readers will undoubtedly conclude that they were in fact practicing witchcraft of their own accord when the Reverend Parris found them, as Mary warren exclaims once the adults have departed, “it's a sin to conjure, and we---.” (20) However, when confronted as to the purpose of their presence in the woods, Abagail and her friends falsely claim they only were in the process of innocent dancing. As they blame all their satanic actions on the slave girl Tituba, the dramatic irony of the situation becomes apparent. They are undoubtedly responsible for crimes of witchcraft, but no other characters in the story are aware of that fact and are willing to put all the blame on the next person in line. Through this irony Miller shows the attitude of these girls in the Salem witch trials; that they in fact lie to save themselves from the conviction of witchcraft, even though they end up putting their blame on a guiltless party. And yet a similar irony reveals itself in the subsequent dialogue of Tituba. She forced nothing whatsoever upon the girls, for at one point her claim reveals that “she [meaning Abagail] beg me to conjure!” (44) Yet when this slave girl is grilled by the Reverend Hale and other men she admits to their accusations and forces herself to start calling out the names of people who also were supposedly affiliated with the devil. Dramatic irony oozes from her confession. Readers can infer that she lies by admitting to her meeting with the devil, but only in an effort to prevent her death. Although the other characters in the story only know to believe the lie she was forced to tell, and take it that all the individuals on her list are unquestionably guilty. Thus, through this dramatic irony Miller shows that the true motive of Tituba, like Abagail and the other girls, reflects her escape from the punishment associated with telling the truth. Miller included these ironies to explain how the...
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