Individual Power in "The Crucible Thesis

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Individual Power in "The Crucible"

The Crucible is a 1953 by Arthur Miller that was written as a response to the political fascism of Senator Joseph McCarthy and what became known as McCarthyism during the early 1950s. The play is a dramatization of fictional events that took place in Massachusetts during 1692-3 that became known as the Salem witchcraft trials. There are many interpretations and depths of symbolism in the Crucible, but one seminal theme is that temporal authority has no real power over individuals who are able to reserve self-actualization and personal power for themselves.

Essentially, the Crucible deals with assumed occultism in a puritan community. It is about community suspicion, about a presumed expert (the Reverend John Hale) who is able to excise evil, or at least he leads the town to believe so. Fears grows, and like a set of dominoes, from an innocent childhood dance in the woods to a witch hunt for evil under every cover and cabinet. People, of course, will go to great lengths to survive, some will convince themselves that evil is among them (and give up all their personal power), some will refuse to "belong" but remain silent, and some will garner the strength of will to overcome the external and stand up for the truth (Proctor).

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One of the basics of power is the difference between moral and secular law -- and the implications of combining the two. Witchcraft becomes a euphemism for sensuality and free thinking, something the Church wanted kept to a minimum during this time period. However, humans are humans, and the morality of thought may well remain in contradiction to secular law, which by its very nature evolves over time, depending on social mores and cultural norms. Many of those initially marginalized in Puritan society end up with personal power that ennobles them, perhaps not legally, but practically. Abigail is an example of this, most especially when she utters:

Thesis on Individual Power in "The Crucible" the Crucible Assignment

Oh, how hard it is when pretense falls! But I falls, it falls! You have done your duty by her. I hope it is your last hypocrisy. I pray you will come again with sweeter news for me…. I know you will -- now that your duty's done…. Fear naught. I will save you tomorrow. From yourself I will save you. . . (Act III: finale).

Second, power is perceived in the Crucible in many forms: individual power is tenacious, it holds moral authority, but it means different things to different people, depending on their own level of awareness and ability to be confident in themselves. Secular law, as well, changes the rubric of power in the… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Individual Power in "The Crucible" Thesis in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Individual Power in "The Crucible.  (2009, November 3).  Retrieved February 23, 2020, from

MLA Format

"Individual Power in "The Crucible."  3 November 2009.  Web.  23 February 2020. <>.

Chicago Style

"Individual Power in "The Crucible."  November 3, 2009.  Accessed February 23, 2020.