Individuality in the Crucible
Individuality versus Conformity in Miller 's The Crucible The theocratic town of Salem, in the late 1600s, not only advocated conformity but stifled individuality. The play, The Crucible by Arthur Miller, illustrates the conflict between conformity and individuality. Salem, a town dependent on the unity and participation, understandably teaches people from a young age to recognize the needs of the community as greater than the needs of an individual. As any unit needs something to hold it all together, Salem forces unity and social conformity through religion. Coincidentally, religion in Salem acts as the judicial system as well, making it particularly hard for individuals to rebel against the practices of the church. Therefor all members of the community follow the religious rules. The people live in fear of the forceful church that prosecutes all dissenters and the threat of hell cause the community of blind followers to not change or progress. Yet as shown in The Crucible, [that]even one brave man can stand up for change and lead the community into (IN) a better direction. John Proctor, a previously unpretentious man, chooses to risk his life and fight for change, and even a community so devoted to conformity learns to respect him as an individual. By analyzing the communal benefits of individuality and the faults of conformity in Salem as depicted in The Crucible, we can see that although [the structure of] conformity has value, the lack of proper leadership, constrictive (restrictive or oppressive would be better word choices) social pressure, and an uncompromising court system corrupt the conformist regime. A community needs a strong leader to guide the people in the right direction, maintain the values of the people, and correct the path of the misguided. A leader like John Proctor who attempts to retrace (retrace? I don’t think that is what you mean.) the corrupt path of the town. When people like Reverend Parris and Judge Danforth are put in a
Cited: Miller, Arthur. The Crucible (Penguin Classics). New York: Penguin Classics, 2003.