Salem of Fear
The Crucible is a play that explores ideas such as conflict, the importance of reputation and the relationship between fear and power. Arthur Miller uses this dramatic setting, symbolism and conflict between characters to show his audience and readers the similarities between the Salem witch hunts and the persecution of communists in his own time. This essay will show that the messages in The Crucible such as the harm that false accusations can cause and the importance of having a good reputation are as relevant today as they were then, through comparison to current events in Australia.
One of the main themes in The Crucible is the harm that can be caused from making accusations against people that are false. This was the main conflict that drove the story when Abigail Williams claimed that Elizabeth Proctor was a witch in order to save herself from getting in trouble and to have John Proctor all for herself as she wanted Elizabeth dead. In the late 1600’s, reputation was extremely important to people in a town where social standing was tied to your ability to follow religious rules. A good name is the only way you can convince others to do business with you or even get a fair hearing. Obviously reputation meant nothing when a witchcraft accusation was staring you in the face, however it is what made Reverend Hale begin to doubt whether the accused were actually guilty. Reputation was linked to religion; if you were a trustworthy person, you were seen as a good member of the church. It is for the sake of John Proctor’s reputation and his friends’ reputations that he refused to sign the false confession as he said; “Because it is my name! Because I cannot have another in my life! … How may I live without my name?” (Miller, The Crucible , p. 124) This Line is basically stating that he would rather die than own a bad name. This concern is still relevant in modern Australia due to the fact that people, especially celebrities, are exposed to a...
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