With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility- "The Crucible", "Silence of the Lambs" and "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest"

Essay by justinh_99High School, 11th gradeA+, September 2007

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“With great power comes great responsibility”To what extent is this true of the texts you have studied in this unit?With great power comes great responsibility; however the texts studied in this unit show that this obligation is not necessarily fulfilled. The core text The Crucible ironically portrays the powerful institutions of the court and church to be acting irresponsibly in contrast to the integrity of the individual. The concept of an oppressively powerful institution is supported in the novel One flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey, whilst the integrity of the individual versus society is explored in Ed Stein’s visual. The Crucible also portrays the ironic inversion of power by seemingly disempowered characters and their misuse of this power. Similarly, the film The Silence of the Lambs ironically depicts power roles.

Arthur Miller’s play The Crucible portrays the irresponsible use of power by the synonymous institution of the church and state.

The paradox of the institution set up to protect the community as a destructive force upon it is presented in this text, with characters such as Danforth personifying overpowering bureaucracy. The court of Salem is presented as a widely respected institution with unquestioned authority over behaviour and perception. Miller emphasizes the flaws of this system through the use of dramatic irony as very few of the members of Salem are aware of the ridiculously tragic nature of the events. In this manner, Miller uses allegory to comment on the thoughtless following of the American public during 1950’s anti-communist sentiment. The Crucible portrays the force of society’s conservative ideas as in direct conflict with the freedom of the individual as innocent characters are accused and widely accepted as witches.

Similarly, the novel One flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey also uses allegory to depict the detrimentally...