"The Crucible" - Techniques

Essay by rightsureHigh School, 10th gradeB+, March 2007

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When writing a novel, short story, or play, the choice of theme is key to the tale's interest and continuity, and thus it is an element that can not be left out. Arthur Miller's specific message aims to place in the reader's mind lessons of life, rooting mainly in dealings with fear and suspicion, hypocrisy, and nobility and integrity. The literary work in which Miller employs these themes is The Crucible.

Miller, in his attempts to demonstrate the fact that "fear and suspicion are infectious and can produce a state of general hysteria that results in the destruction of public order and rationality" is through the witchcraft rumors. At the very beginning of the play the reader is immediately immersed into the startings of mass hysteria. The small town of Salem is uprooted from its repetitious, day-to-day life with the spreading of knowledge about the girls' dancing in the forest and the possibility of witchcraft in their presence.

This instills a fear the likes of which is unrivaled by anything in the town and causes suspicion to raise until it breaks down order and rationality to the point where people's lives are being put to an end upon the mere accusations of a group of girls. The spread is not even contained. The level of effect drives the panic so far as Andover, a neighboring town of Salem. The suspicion allows individuals to make a single mention of unusual behavior to gain revenge in the form of official arresting for bewitching and witchcraft. However, some, such as John Proctor, realize this glaring error in ways when his wife is arrested. "We are what we always were in Salem, / but now the little crazy children are jangling / the keys of the kingdom, and common / vengeance writes the law!...