Symbolism and Themes in The Crucible
In Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, The Salem Witch Trials of 1690 brings the town of Salem to a state of hysteria, a state of total confusion. Miller’s use of hysteria allows the build up of his many themes. The Crucible contains three major themes: light versus dark, weight, and name. The theme of light versus dark foretells the upcoming events. Darkness in The Crucible brings a presence of evil to the play. Miller uses darkness to convey evil. The first use of darkness Abigail and the girls dance in the dark woods. The darkness from the woods reveals the ominous events. The idea of darkness is present throughout the play to set up the coming of a sinister act. Darkness presents itself in The Crucible to expose the evil through Abigail or through an evil spirit. In the play, darkness is also used to describe evil spirits. Mercy Lewis asks Mary if she “. . . send[s] this shadow on [her]” (Miller 101). In this quote darkness is used as the presence of a demon. Hale talks about the “. . . powers of the dark gathered in monstrous attack upon the village” (Miller 61). Once again the theme of darkness introduces itself to foretell an evil event preparing to take place. Darkness portrays evil in contrast to the truth and purity light portrays. Light signifies the truth and purity through God. Hale tells Tituba to “…open yourself and God’s holy light shine upon you” (Miller 43). Hale wants Tituba to become pure and true. Light has much to do with name in Salem. In Salem, God’s holy light is what builds one’s reputation. John Proctor would not allow his own son to be baptized by Parris because he does not see the “. . . light of God. . .” in him (Miller 62). Light, also, has a dual meaning. Light can also refer to life and affection; Abigail refers to John Proctor as the “. . . light . . . of my eye” (Miller 22). Saying this Miller shows that light has more of a meaning than just truth. Light can refer to Abigail’s “. . . sexual...
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