English III Period 2: Roll 12
Indicating Theme through Internal Conflict:
An Examination of Miller’s Intent in The Crucible
Theocracy is a method of government in which a divine being is formally recognized as the public Head of state and community officials are viewed as divinely guided. In a theocratic civilization, God himself is thought of as the head of state. Conscious of how a theocracy can destroy a society, Miller intends to imply – through his portrayal of John Proctor and Reverend Hale – the thematic idea that theocracy is essentially blind and corrupt. One indication of Miller’s intent, in this respect, is his formation of John Proctor, who criticizes the court throughout the trials. An Additional suggestion of Miller’s intention is his creation of Reverend John Hale, who at first was in favor of the trials but later denounces the count and tries to save the lives of those accused. Concerning the belief that theocracy is blind and corrupt, Miller embodies this belief through his character John Proctor. For example in one part of the story Elizabeth, John Proctor’s wife, tells Proctor that he must go to Salem and disclose that Abigail is being dishonest. In these circumstances, Elizabeth says, “She said it had naught to do with witchcraft, did she not” (3.53). Miller’s choice of words shows how Abigail is being deceitful at the witch trials. These words are an example of internal conflict because John Proctor wants to tell the court the truth but, he knows that it will be his word against Abigail’s. From a thematic viewpoint, Miller seems to be implying that government, when governed by a theocracy, is blind and crooked because it is run by false evidence. Similarly, through a later scene in the story, Proctor tells Mary Warren to be truthful. He tells her to go to the courtroom and bear witness against Abigail. Proctor consoles Mary by...