The Crucible

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The Crucible

The playwright, Arthur Miller, uses the character construction in the play to position the audience to accept the dominant reading of the play, which is the concern and dangers of religious fanaticism. The play, The Crucible, is set in Salem, Massachusetts in 1692. It is based upon the actual events which led to the ‘Salem witch trials’, a series of hearings to determine which individuals were in fact practicing witchcraft. The play also conveys parallels to the McCarthyist era, during which the playwright was questioned as he had attended Communist meetings, and modern day anti-terror laws, which prevent people of certain backgrounds and cultures to enter countries, as they are immediately sent to prisons, based on appearance and other individuals opinions, that are certainly not based upon facts.

The audience is positioned to relate to the concepts in the play, as well as sympathising with characters. Miller does this as it is a way of getting his message to the audience. The dominant reading of the play is religious fanaticism; this is displayed as the town of Salem is ruled by a theocracy. However, the perfect town is hardly that, filled with corruption, betrayal and a never-ending blame game, which evidently causes masses of people to be tried in court resulting in many of them being hung. This concept of doing anything to achieve what you want draws parallels to a number of occurrences. They are, the real Salem witch trials upon which the story is based upon, the McCarthyist era and the modern day anti-terror laws although not directly addressed, the likeness is overwhelming. The anti-terror laws allow, mostly, innocent individuals to be held in prisons around the world simply because they look a certain way or are of a certain race. The comparison drawn is that one does not need evidence, merely a person’s word, true or false. Miller displays certain parallels and concepts to show that religious fanaticism is not always guaranteed a...
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