Crucible Questions 1. Perhaps the Most Shocking Thesis

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Crucible Questions

1. Perhaps the most shocking element of the play which is revealed in

the introduction is that which is revealed to the play's reader here for

the first time as the extraordinary young age of the girls. Acknowledging

them as being barely out of their puberty, this introduction helps to pave

the way for the cruel behavior perpetrated by such young aggressors.

A second shocking detail noted in the introduction relates to the fact

in the years after the witch trials, when the state of Massachusetts had

come to full acknowledge and provide reparations for what had occurred, it

did so with precious little remorse. Though it provided a small financial

sum to the compensation of the Proctors-with John Proctor already deceased

by execution-"perversely, damages were paid not only to the victims but

also to such people as William Good, who was his wife's accuser, and

Abigail Hobbs, a 'confessed witch' who became a hostile witness.'" (viii)

In addition to this grotesque distortion of a reconciliation, the

statement provided by the Governor accompanying this statement of apology

would argue nonetheless that the accusers could be forgiven for their

atrocities due to the fact that the time and place in question wasDownload full Download Microsoft Word File
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"infested with a horrible Witchcraft." (vii) This would seem a most

unyielding apology.

These observations lead to a number of questions concerning the play

as a whole. Particularly, the fact of this unrepentence causes me to

wonder whether Miller's political enemies recognized the parallels

suggested between McCarthyism and the Witch Trials.

A second question wonders whether this play might have been made had

not the era of McCarthyism begun to impact artists, authors and

entertainers, even in spite of the fact that it was based on events more

Thesis on Crucible Questions 1. Perhaps the Most Shocking Assignment

than 200 years passed.

A final question as we enter further discussion on this subject

questions whether or not-without a loaded intention-Miller's analogy

between the Witch Trials and the anti-communist loyalty trials of the


2. The most prominent of distinctions from history is the set of

dramatic liberties taken with regard to personal relationships, such as the

affair between Proctor and Abigail, which would be a device intended to

move forward themes of personal vindictiveness.

Additional distinctions are the characterizations which in many

contexts, Miller acknowledges, were intended as 'composite' sketches of

groups of individuals identified by historical record. His characters were

fictionalized for the purpose of economy.

An additional detail of importance is that many of the character ages

were altered in order to create dramatic tensions and possibilities central

to the narrative action but distinct from historical accuracy.

3. Act I: I am immediately struck by how fast speculation is turned

around in this sequence. The manipulative young girls escape culpability

for deviant behavior by exploiting the primitive instincts of the

townsfolk. I am amazed by the susceptibility of the townsfolk to such a


Act II: Again, what is most stunning is the quickness with… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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