The Crucible

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An individual’s communal and personal sense of acceptance is often determined by the prevailing community ideologies and the individual’s responses to these attitudes. Arthur Miller’s allegorical play “The Crucible” and Ray Bradbury’s dystopian novel “Fahrenheit 451” effectively explore attitudes where individuals must conform to strict moral guidelines in a community ideology to achieve a sense of acceptance. Individuals have the choice to either accept the ideology, where there is no dissension; or they can reject the ideology due to conflict with their own free thought, moral conscience and personal integrity. Both the protagonists of these texts choose to follow their own personal beliefs, allowing them to gain self-acceptance and redemption. Community attitudes establish an individual’s sense of acceptance. Miller contextualises Salem through archaic language as a Puritanical society that is strongly consequential and rigid. Miller’s prose commentaries reveals a paradox, where a theocracy is built upon a “common purpose with no conflict” to “prevent disunity” and reject “ideological enemies”. The stage direction such as “a narrow window at the left” suggests that the people of Salem are narrow-minded, and “there is shock among the others” shows unified emotions and attitudes. The words “right” and “left” commonly mentioned in the stage directions, also imply that there is an obvious difference between being “with us” or “against us”. Proctor’s attitudes are highlighted by Miller’s prose commentaries, where he sees himself as a “troubled soul, a sinner and a fraud”, and believes that inclusion in Salem is superficial and pretence. Due to his lack of moral conduct, he feels as though he is unacceptable to himself and society, sensing that he is not in alignment with community standards, and therefore reviling himself as a hypocrite. Thus, Salem’s rigid communal attitudes impact on Proctor’s sense of acceptance, due to conflict with community standards. Choices characters make are based on community and personal attitudes, which decide their sense of inclusion. These choices are highlighted through Miller’s use of figurative language, where everyone follows the strict and rigid rules of society. Although some individuals have the opportunity to speak up, nobody questions the power of the authority. Personal choices, such as Proctor’s, are also shown through figurative language. “I cannot mount the gibbet like a saint” is a simile Miller uses to demonstrate Proctor’s beliefs of himself, where he admits he has not always been an honest man, and lying will not change him from good to bad. Proctor is constantly judging himself, and the metaphor, “the magistrate sits in your heart that judges you” reveals Proctor’s self-guilt and distrust in himself. Hale’s personal choices are emphasised by dramatic irony, when he chooses to visit the accused in jail, where he has “come to do the Devil’s work”, ironically rejecting the Ten Commandments and pleading them to bear false witness. Proctor and Hale are both forced to choose between community standards and their own personal integrity, influencing their sense of inclusion. The consequences of an individual’s sense of acceptance are determined by their attitudes and choices. “The Crucible” is a metaphor for the ordeal that Proctor must endure. He is at odds with his conscience, and is his own judge, which is made clear by Miller’s dialogue, creating inner conflict. “For now I see a shred of goodness in John Proctor” reveals that Proctor was able to pass the test and maintain his personal integrity, gaining self-acceptance and redemption. With the use of emotive language and repetition, Miller shows Hale’s dynamic character becoming guilt ridden through his hypocrisy in persuading good Christians to lie. “There is blood on my head! Can you not see the blood on my head!!” exposes his beliefs, where he feels he cannot be welcomed into a society he sees as corrupt. Therefore, the...
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