Themes are the fundamental and often universal ideas explored in a literary work.
Miller bases the play on the historical account of the Salem witch trials. In particular he focuses on the discovery of several young girls and a slave playing in the woods, conjuring — or attempting to conjure — spirits from the dead.
Rather than suffer severe and inevitable punishment for their actions, the girls accused other inhabitants of Salem of practicing witchcraft.
Ironically, the girls avoided punishment by accusing others of the very things of which they were guilty. This desperate and perhaps childish finger-pointing resulted in mass paranoia and an atmosphere of fear in which everyone was a potential witch.
As the number of arrests increased, so did the distrust within the Salem community. A self-perpetuating cycle of distrust, accusation, arrest, and conviction emerged. By the end ofthe Salem court had convicted and executed nineteen men and women.
Miller creates an atmosphere and mood within the play reminiscent of the historical period and of Puritan culture. The inhabitants of Salem lived in a restrictive society. Although the Puritans left England to avoid religious persecution, they based their newly established society upon religious intolerance.
The Puritans demonstrated their faithfulness, honesty, and integrity through physical labor and strict adherence to religious doctrine. The Puritans had no tolerance for inappropriate or unacceptable behavior and punished individuals publicly and severely if they transgressed. Miller captures the intolerance and religious fanaticism of the period and effectively incorporates them into the play.
Reading about the Salem witch trials and the paranoid frenzy going on at the time is one thing, but witnessing the trials first hand is quite another experience.
Miller permits the audience to do just that by transforming the faceless names from history into living, breathing characters with desires, emotions, and freewill. Miller did make adjustments to the ages, backgrounds, and occupations of several of the individuals mentioned in the historical records, however.
For example, he lowers the age gap between John Proctor and Abigail Williams from sixty and eleven, respectively, to thirty-five and seventeen, enabling the plot line of an affair between the two.
Proctor and his wife Elizabeth ran an inn as well as a farm, but Miller eliminates this detail. Finally, Miller chose to omit the fact that Proctor had a son who was also tortured during the witch trials because he refused to confess to witchcraft. This classic love triangle appears repeatedly in literature, not to mention the supermarket tabloids.
On one hand Miller addresses a particularly dark period in American history — a time in which society believed the Devil walked the streets of Salem and could become manifest in anyone, even a close neighbor or, worse yet, a family member.
On the other hand, Miller moves beyond a discussion of witchcraft and what really happened in Salem to explore human motivation and subsequent behavior.Although Arthur Miller’s play, The Crucible, was initially conceived as a response to the McCarthy "hysteria," like all enduring and greatly valued plays, the "messages," characterizations, and what may be perceived as the prime statement of the play transcend both the historical framework of that era and the historical environment of .
Complete summary of Arthur Miller's The Crucible. eNotes plot summaries cover all the significant action of The Crucible. Critical Overview As a play, The Crucible was designed to be. A summary of Symbols in Arthur Miller's The Crucible. Learn exactly what happened in this chapter, scene, or section of The Crucible and what it means.
Perfect for acing essays, tests, and quizzes, as well as for writing lesson plans. A theme is a broad idea, moral or message of a book or story. One individual may construe the themes of a book or story differently than another, but that is the pure beauty of themes.
One great literary work is The Crucible, a play written by Arthur Miller. Succinctly, the play is about the Salem witch trials that took place in Massachusetts in This play presents a number of conflicts, external and internal.
The crisis faced by John Proctor in the final two acts of the play embody both of the external and the internal conflicts of the. Arthur Miller's play, The Crucible, tells the story of the Salem Witch Trials as a metaphor for the anti-American witch hunts of the s.
Arthur Miller's 'The Crucible': Plot Summary Search the site GO.