The influence of McCarthyism is clearly shown when Abigail and the girls gain power and trust by telling Danforth the names of people they have supposedly seen with the devil. Similarly, in McCarthy times people who were reported of sympathising with communists would be taken to court but they would not be sentenced if they named people associated with communist groups. The Crucible contains many conflicts, which also represent the themes of the play. John Proctors conflict with society can be symbolised in different ways. It can the show the conflicts of Society vs. private lives, Utopia vs. reality or religion vs.
capitalism. . One of the main conflicts we witness in the play are the inner conflicts of John Proctor Miller uses audience positioning cleverly, and we find ourselves sympathising completely with Proctor. He is the outgoing and confident character we all wish we could be, but we are first introduced to him when Abigail tries to persuade him to commit adultery again. This doesnt give us a very good impression of him. However, we are already beginning to believe Abigail is a cunning and relentless women who is truly selfish so we are inclined to sympathise with John for falling for her trickery.
Abigail-¦. I have seen you nights. Proctor-I have hardly stepped off my farm this seven-month Abigail-I have a sense for heat, John, and yours has drawn me to my window, and I have seen you looking up, burning in your loneliness. This quote demonstrates Abigails sexual desire, she is trying to lure John into her trap, she feels no remorse for the hurt she has caused Elizabeth Proctor, which causes us to dislike her even more as Elizabeth is shown as a selfless and loving mother. We can also see John trying to dot he right moral thing by not giving into his own desires.
So, from the beginning of the play, because of Johns conflict with Abby we are sympathising with him, even though he is an adulterer. Johns inner conflict is greatly used to cause suspense in the play. This suspense is shown brilliantly in the final stages of The Crucible when John is deciding whether to sign a confession of witchcraft, to save himself, or to die, saving his name and pride. This everyday conflict between Johns choice to stand up for personal values and justice or to go along with society is turned into a life or death situation. Everything is intensified in the puritanical dystopia of Salem.
I found myself willing to fight for Johns right to live and remain a respected man, he faces a moral dilemma and we are on the edge of our seats all the way to his death. Arthur Miller introduces this conflict fairly early in the play as John could have made a stand from the moment Abigail declared she had seen the devil. Cleverly Miller keeps this suspense going until he end of the play when, ironically, John can no longer stand up for the truth and get justice. Unfortunately, Johns choice to stand up for his values goes hand in hand with his death warrant, ending the suspense, and the story.
Johns conflicts also create the main emotion in The Crucible. We are cleverly positioned to be outrageously biased towards John. We are held in mid-air, supported only by a rope, solely made of our sympathy and love for John and our need for justice. At the end of the play the knife of Puritanism destroys this rope, killing all hope of justice, devastating our faith in Salem and most importantly ending Johns life. These emotions are what connect us so closely to John, and therefore the play. Hale-Man, you will hang! You cannot! Proctor-I can. And theres your first marvel, that I can.
You have made your magic now, for now I do think I see some shred of goodness in John Proctor. Not enough to weave a banner with, but white enough to keep it from such dogs. Give them no tears! Tears pleasure them! Show honour now, show a stony heart and sink them with it! This section of The Crucible is highly emotional as our main character is choosing between life and death. In this quote we see the desperation of Hale, as he feels guilty for letting such a thing happen and he wishes he was with John from the start. Johns words of encouragement to Elizabeth make it clear that he doesnt want society to win.
But, he has nothing left. He no longer has his private life, as everyone knows about his affair with Abigail and now John is our in the open, The have been stripped of their clothes and now have no room to hide anything. Society has invaded their personal space and private lives, which is symbolic in this play. John also brings confusion to the play and forced me to face a puzzling question. Is John Proctor a victim or a hero? After a long deliberation I concluded that he is both. Throughout the play we are told that power is everything, but all this is crumbled by Johns situation in his last hours.
I was appalled to learn that even someone as powerful, respected and confident as John can be made a victim by the power of theocracy and the distorted dream of a puritanical society. However, as I mentioned earlier, John is everything we dream of being. Even the threat of death doesnt persuade him to put aside his values his pride and his struggle for justice. In the Proctor household there is a great tension between John and Elizabeth, as she still hasnt forgiven Proctor for his adultery, his short temper and her lack of trust cause many arguments.
This confusion, created by secrecy and lies, creates room for the irony that seals Elizabeths fate. When Mary Warren makes a doll for Elizabeth, as a genuine gift, Abigail persuades her to stick the needle in the stomach of the doll for safekeeping. This doll is then found at the proctor house, when Hale enters their house, ignoring their privacy he questions their faith in the church. As John doesnt go to church on Sundays he must be a bad person, capable of witchcraft. The doll is found with the needle still in the stomach and Elizabeth is accused of witchery.
This links to the fate of Tituba, because her faiths and traditions were different, they were believed to be damaging society. Practices such as Voodoo were feared and disallowed. This shows that Religion is omnipotent, and it didnt allow for any space to be human or weak. Ironically what was meant to be a present turns out to be the evidence to justify her death warrant. Elizabeth- (crying out) Youll tear it free-when you come to know that I will be your only wife, or no wife at all! She has an arrow in you yet, John Proctor, and you know it well! Hale-Good evening. Proctor-Why, Mr. Hale! Good evening to you, sir.
Come in, come in. This quote shows the change in tone and atmosphere when their privacy is invaded. This is also typical, as throughout the play tone and atmosphere are driven by a change in conflict. This is symbolic and will happen again and again in the rest of the play. Theocracy believes there is no need for a private life, life is God and his church. This all adds to the audience positioning as we are pushed farther towards John and away from society and figures such as Danforth. This also adds confusion because with a figure of the church in their home it becomes harder to define what a private feeling or place is.
We are largely involved in The Crucible and we almost take the role of god in the play. We believe we are able to make judgements about all the character and we are given numerous conflicts to judge, and then take sides on. This also puts us in a judges position, strengthening our will for justice. Through the use of secrecy, lies and audience positioning, we are entangled in the confusion of Salem, the ambiguity of it holds us even tighter to the exciting plot. This role and involvement forces us to think, therefore connecting us to the play and intensifying all emotions and conflicts.
In my opinion the main twist of the play was in the court scene where Proctor confesses his affair with Abigail, who doesnt deny it and doesnt confess to it either. Elizabeth is brought in as a witness, she could save all the living people accused of witchcraft by telling the court the truth, by removing Abigails power. However, her choice to lie or confess her husbands adultery to the court is not based on her values and her morals. She is unaware of the importance of her decision and she doesnt know that John has already confessed his crime.