Perverted Trajectories of Power-Games in Arthur Miller’s the Crucible

Topics: Salem witch trials, The Crucible, Arthur Miller Pages: 6 (2327 words) Published: June 25, 2011
Perverted Trajectories of Power-Games in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible

Pawan Kumar Sharma(Research scholar) Dr A S Rao ( Assistant Professor of English)
MITS University, Lakshmangarh, Sikar (Raj.)

Arthur Miller is a well-known name among American playwrights. In the play, The Crucible (1953), he visualises a world immune to all kind of abuses. He wants to see hale and hearty society. In this paper, it has been sought to expose corrupt routes of power, how it is gained and lost. In fact, like Karl Marx, Miller also denegrates class-bound society. He abhors victimised relationships. Of couse, he has taught the lessons of kindness to huminity. In the play, The Crucible, Arthur Miller has dreamt for the betterment of not only Americans but of whole mankind. The major plays of Arthur Miller include The Man Who Had All the Luck (1944), All My Sons (1947), Death of a Salesman (1949), The Crucible (1953), A View From the Bridge (1955) and A Memory of Two Mondays (1955). Set in the village of Salem Massachusetts in 1692, Arthur Miller’s The Crucible is a play about the seductive nature of power and for pubescent girls that seductiveness is perhaps not unconnected with a confused sexuality. The Crucible has endured beyond the immediate events of its own time. If it was originally seen as a political allegory, it is now seen by the contemporary audiences almost entirely as a distinguished American play by an equally distinguished playwright Arthur Miller. The political questions raised in the play by the playwright make it distinct from other plays. These political questions are valid in a range of social, cultural and historical contexts. The themes taken by Arthur Miller in his different plays mostly deals with existentially human and are also relevant to the modern audiences in a number of ways. For instance the film production of The Crucible, directed by Nicholas Hytner (The Madness of King George) shows the “distinguishness” and “contemporariness” of The Crucible. Study of history and interpretation of history in an artistic way are two different things. A topical history of some event can give an artist a material which he moulds into global relevance. It is the same thing with Arthur Miller in case of The Crucible. In his introduction to the published edition of the screenplay, Miller himself commented, “as we prepared to shoot the movie, we were struck time and again by its alarming topicality: it spoke directly about the bigotry of religious fundamentalists across the globe, about communities torn apart by accusations of child abuse, about the rigid intellectual orthodoxies of college campuses there is no shortage of contemporary Salem ready to cry witchcraft. But the film’s political agenda is not specific. The Crucible has acquired a universal urgency shared only by stories that tap primal truths.” One of these areas the topic of child abuse particularly shows that Miller is keen to both root his writing in contemporary issues and at the same time challenges the audience by raising general questions about religion, law, and society. The Crucible is largely seen as a drama showing collective guilt and responsibility and it is here we find the weight of Miller’s critique of societies which does not maintain a balance between liberty and social organization. Miller writes in the inserted prose before the beginning of Act One regarding the aim of theocracy in Salem is to keep the community together, and to prevent any kind of disunity that might open it to destruction by material or ideological enemies. It was forged for a necessary purpose to be accomplished. But all organizations must not be grounded on the ideas of exclusion and prohibition. Evidently the time came in New England when repressions of order were heavier than seemed warranted by the dangers against which the order was organized. The witch-hunt was a perverse manifestation of...

References: 1. Miller, Arthur: The Crucible, New York: The Penguin Group, 1995.
2. Griffin, Alice. Understanding Arthur Miller. Columbia: University of Southt Carolina Press, 1996.
3. Arthur Miller: Critical Study. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005.
4. Bigsby, C.W.E. “Arthur Miller.” In A Critical Introduction to Twentieth- Century American Drama: Volume Tow_ Williams/Miller/Albee. Cambridge University Press, 1984
5. Gottfried, Martin. Arthur Miller: His Life and Work. New York: Da Capo, 2003
6. Otten, Terry. The Temptation of Innocence in the Dramas of Arthur Miller. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2002
7. Murray, Edward. Arthur Miller, Dramatist. New York: Ungar 1967.
8. Bloom, Harold, editor. Modern Critical Views: Arthur Miller. New York: Chelsea House, 1987.
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