Arthur Miller's intended message of the need of individualism in a uniform (Puritan) society.

Essay by Matt2044High School, 11th gradeA+, December 2003

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Be careful--the result of being an individual in a uniform society could possibly lead to death. In The Crucible, Arthur Miller relates the Salem witchcraft trials to the modern acts of McCarthyism being practiced. He uses specific events and characters in the play to describe what occurs in both situations. One of the characters Miller uses to describe his ideas is John Proctor. Miller uses Proctor's moral ambiguity to express his views of how individualism is nearly impossible in such corrupt, tyrant-like societies.

One reason Miller writes the play is to magnify the foolish actions of modern day society and how it fails to learn from history's mistakes--in this case, how people are found suspicious because of their individualism. The play shows his beliefs in how society is easily manipulated and eager to accuse such individuals of unrealistic crimes. Miller uses many terms in this piece to describe how he feels about such societies: snobbery, fanatics, strict, somber, insoluble, hatreds, revenge, and vengeance (167-169).

He also refers to the term "New Jerusalem" sarcastically to show how the Puritans are always striving to be the perfect community (167). Miller sees the fact that government can, and often does, make unforgivable mistakes, yet usually will not admit to these mistakes in order to save face in the public eye. These societies and their horrible mistakes make people who, figuratively, march to the beat of their own drum become known as bad or dangerous individuals. In The Crucible, John Proctor, whose moral ambiguity plays a major role in making him a controversial, discriminated individual, is a perfect example of a victim of this societal injustice.

Proctor's unclear morals stem from the fact that he has committed adultery with Abigail. Later, in a futile effort to save his friends, he sacrifices his...