Arthur Miller Essay
Can the audience be certain that Abigail is pretending when she has her fits (pages thirty nine-forty and ninety one-ninety six) In sixteen ninety two there was an outbreak of hangings for witchcraft. Arthur Miller based “The Crucible” on the events that lead to this to create an allegory of the events that took place in the nineteen fifties, when Joseph McCarthy was the head of the investigations of the senate committee on internal security.
When Abigail her fit on page ninety two, Miller leaves the audience confused because of the other girls’ reaction to what Abigail does and also to Mary Warren’s accusations. When Abigail starts imitating Mary Warren the girls copy Abigail and start using it to accuse Mary Warren of “sending a shadow on them,” so Abigail used its sudden entrance into the court to stop Mary Warren from telling the truth about what happened in the woods. The way they chose to accuse her was by imitating Mary Warren. “Mary Warren (screaming out at the top of her lungs, and raising her fists): Stop it!!
Girls (raising their fists): Stop it!! ” Arthur Miller adds more uncertainty by making other girls leading into the fits. This happens when Betty wakes upon page thirty nine and starts a fit off by saying, “I saw Goody Howe with the Devil! ” This is effective because Betty is apparently ill at the time that this happens then “As she is speaking BETTY is rising from the bed, a fever in her eyes, and picks up the chant. ” Then in a fit on page ninety two, Mercy Lewis says “Mercy Lewis (pointing): It’s on the beam! Behind the rafter!
” This is when the bird has appeared and Danforth asks where it was. This is an effective strategy to employ and these points in the play because it keeps the audience guessing and wanting to know what will happen next. Mary Warren is present during both the fits that Abigail has, although in the second one on page ninety two she is the one both accusing and being accused. At the end of the fit Mary Warren has a real stress induced fit “only MARY is left there, staring up at the `bird’, screaming madly. All watch her terrified by this evident fit.
” The fact that Mary Warren has now joined in isn’t the only thing that makes this effective it is that she has just changed her mind after being so resolute on telling the truth, also that this implicates Proctor as being a witch because he is the one that took her to the court. In the sixteen nineties the buildings were furnished in a minimalist fashion because people couldn’t afford much more that the essentials, for example in Betty’s bedroom would have a bed a little chest of drawers for her clothes and a chair. There would also be a few windows.
Therefore it would be quite shocking seeing it filled up with mainly young girls, then when all the girls suddenly start shouting it would be overwhelming and quite confusing for an audience member seeing this for the first time. However, When Mary Warren is persuaded to go to court she seems scared of Abigail as she says; “She’ll kill me for sayin’ that! ” The audience also know that Abigail has lied from the beginning about what happened in the woods, as Abigail told her uncle that all they did was dance but then Betty says “you drank a charm to kill Goody Proctor!
Also in the same conversation Abigail tells Mary Warren to carry on lying, “Let either of you breathe a word about the other things and I will come to you in the black of some terrible night and I will bring pointy reckoning that will shudder you. ” When the girls copy Abigail they never catch on straight away they always take a while to join in, such as in the court room on page ninety two Abigail has to repeat what Mary Warren says twice before the girls start repeating as well. “The Crucible” is an allegory of what was happening in America in the nineteen fifties.
When Joseph McCarthy became a senator lots of people started having trouble with being accused of being a communist. It was mainly actors, actresses and writers that were accused but once you were accused there were only two things you could do to stop yourself from being blacklisted, which meant you would find it very hard to work again, you could either admit to being a communist and still be black listed or you could do the easier thing to prove you weren’t a communist which was accuse someone else. This is very similar to “The Crucible” as Abigail feels she has to accuse Tituba so that she isn’t accused of which craft.
The only two differences when you were put in this situation ware that you wouldn’t be hung for being a communist you just wouldn’t be able to find work very easily. The other difference was that in Salem you had to be a witch to be hung, whereas in America you had to be a communist. There are certain similarities between Salem and today, such as today, lots of people treat Muslims differently because other people have turned Muslims into a scapegoat and projected everything wrong with the society that they live in and been blamed on a particular group of people, which in our case is Muslims.
This prejudice against particular groups of people often isn’t fair. In America they projected their fears onto communists because they were that the communist uprising in Russia would spread to America, but now we are worried because a few Muslims out of millions decided to become suicide bombers and the government used them as a means to justify the war in Iraq by demonising the main faith in that country. Overall I think that the audience wouldn’t be able to whether Abigail was pretending while she was having her fits unless they had seen “The Crucible” before, because Arthur Miller uses a lot of tactics to confuse or scare the audience.
Subject: Arthur Miller,
University/College: University of California
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 12 October 2017
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