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Thread: Arthur Miller - The Crucible

  1. #1

    Arthur Miller - The Crucible

    Forgive my less than academic reasons for this post. At work we are entering a consultation phase to see if my job can be sent off shore and I get made redundant - they have named it project Cruicible. Knowing of a play of the same name by Arthur Miller - could some one give me the gist of the play and how it fits my predicament

    Thanks

    Stella

  2. #2
    Pièce de Résistance Scheherazade's Avatar
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    You can find all you want to know about The Crucible (and more) here: http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/crucible/

    Sorry about the redundancy!
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    "It is not that I am mad; it is only that my head is different from yours.”
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    The play is about North American with trials, and was written during the Red Scare and the spy trials. It opens just after a gaggle of teenage girls in a Puritan community were caught dancing in the woods--possibly unclothed, possibly engaging in some form of witchcraft. The ringleader, who is, embarrasingly, the town reverand's niece and charity case, is a girl named Abigail. She at first denies the charges of witchcraft, then realizes that she can turn them to her advantage and charge others with witchcraft. Her main target is Elizabeth Proctor, the wife of a man she had an affair with. Early in the play, the emphasis switches to the Proctors, their tense relationship, and the charges of witchcraft brought against them. As you can guess, it is not a cheerful play.

    The relationship to your predicament is probably that people's jobs are being investigated, or 'tried,' and some people will probably lose their jobs. In 'The Crucible,' the whole situation gets vindictive, hysterical and out of control. I hope that doesn't apply to your workplace!

  4. #4

    Thanks

    cheers for the replies - sadly I am seeing parallels!!

    keep yer fingers crossed for me!!

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    IdTakeABulletForYou
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    I want to read that book so bad... and why was it a banned book????
    I have 853 poems online. Please check some out:

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    In Arden with a book
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    It's banned beause people are silly. Honestly, that's the best I can think of--it's kind of disturbing sometimes, and has sexual references, but what doesn't?

    Hang in there, Stella! My fingers are corssed.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by yellowfeverlime
    I want to read that book so bad... and why was it a banned book????
    McCarthyism supposedly died in the mid-1950s, but the truth is it never went away entirely. Leftist-leaning writers like Arthur Miller were persecuted to the grave and beyond. When Miller died this year, one newspaper obituary denigrated his work as mediocre because it focused on the "one-sided" issues of social and economic justice.

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    Just another nerd RobinHood3000's Avatar
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    According to my English teacher, a "crucible" also signifies a severe test.

    As for the play, I always saw it as something like "Fatal Attraction" taking place in the 1690's, but that was my perception.

  9. #9
    The central character has a choice to make at the end - confess his "crimes", repent and name his co-conspiritors and live - or continue to deny, thus showing that he is unrepentant and die. The possibility of his actually being innocent is of course not considered

    Perhaps this implies that in order to keep your job, you must confess to being a bad worker, promise to try harder in future and turn evidence against some of the real slackers in the company. I add my best wishes for your continued employment and hope that this is not an accurate parallel in your case.

    A note on the origin of the word and it's use as the title of Miller's play: A crucible is a small (usually ceramic) bowl used for heating metals to high temperatures, especially for melting gold for purposes of testing it's purity. This led to it's alternative usages as a trial (or place of trial), or as a melting pot of cultural influences. The metaphor of testing purity by fire should be obvious.

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    Thumbs up Conflict in the Crucible

    The Crucible written by Arthur Miller is a play that takes place in the sixteen nineties during the famous but tragic witch trials. The entire community is in pandemonium yet certain characters are also fighting internal conflicts of their own. Miller uses three characters who manifest this internal battle ever so clearly. Such as Mary Warren who whole personality turns upside down, John Proctor who contemplates between the importance of his family and his own name and Reverend Hale who battles with himself whether to carry out his job requirements or do what he knows is right.
    Mary Warren is a girl who is forced with this inner turmoil throughout this play. At the outset of the play she is perceived to be a very shy girl who will never speak her mind as shown when Proctor sends her home and she responds with " I'm just going home" (21). As the play continues and as she is influenced by Abigail, Mary begins to break this self induced mold and does what she wants. Mary Warren, along with many other girls gets caught up in the hype of getting all the attention and exercising power via initiating and adamantly continuing these "witch trials". Finally John Proctor, the rationalist, shows that when people like Rebecca Nurse and Elizabeth Proctor who are the saintliest of people are accused of being witches, something must be wrong. Mary Warren has a difficult decision to make. She has realized that her whole way of life has been based on injustice. However, how can she extricate herself from Abigail and her friends, not to mention her new feelings of confidence. Mary decides to speak out against Abigail and the others for their false accusations and said that she " tried to kill me numerous times"(57). Yet as she does this heroic act of overcoming her old reality, Abigail pretends that Mary is also a witch using the poppets against her(73). Mary is now faced with yet another grueling internal conflict: to do what she knows is right and probably die for it, or to return to her old ways. Mary succumbs to Abigail’s "hypnosis " and accuses John Proctor of forcing her to lie. Clearly the battle which Mary faced from the very beginning was enormous.
    John Proctor a farmer and village commoner similarly is faced with an inner turmoil. He has committed adultery and had absolutely no intentions of joining in the witch trials unless hi pregnant wife were to also get involved. After his wife got involved and eventually was set free due to the fact that she was pregnant feels that he can't accept this. Proctor is a good and noble man and because of this he believes at first he can't be hanged and die a martyr when he has this sin blooming over him every waking moment . John later says to Elizabeth that " My honesty is broke, Elizabeth; I am no good man. Nothing's spoiled by giving them this lie that were not rotten long before"(136) and rather confess then die for something he flat out didn't do. However, as John confesses, he can not allow Danforth to make it officially documented. As Danforth asks him why John answers with a cry " because it is my name. Because I cannot have another in my life . . . How may I live without my name? Have given you my soul; leave me my name(143). John feels strongly about having a good name and not dying with a bad one. Proctor weighs both sides of his internal conflict and realizes that he must not make another mistake. He therefore, prescribes himself to death, not for his own sake, but rather for the sake of the others. As John dies Liz weeps saying " He have his goodness now. God forbid I take it away"(145).
    Another internal conflict is evident in Reverend Hale who initiates these problems. At first Reverend Hale is sure about his belief that there are witches and feels that he is carrying out the desires of G-D himself. Yet as the play moves on and Hale sees all these honest and good people being sentenced and executed he too sees an inner conflict. He contemplates whether to do what he is sent to do, listen to Danforth, or does he listen to his own conscience and denounce these proceedings as unjust and wrong. Hale decides to help out all the people wrongly accused by encouraging them to confess and save themselves from these false proceedings. Hale attempting to repent his own sins by tying to make people confess states" I come to do the devils work. I come to counsel Christians they should belie themselves . . . can you not see the blood on my head(131). Hale overcomes his turmoil by following the truth he knew in his heart of hearts. Yet he is counseling people to " prevail upon your husband and confess " and says " God damns a liar less than he that throws his life away for pride " and convinces people to lie which is against his religion and considered a moral sin. But he decides that earthly life is a greater gift than eternal life.
    Everybody throughout their lives are faced with inner conflicts. One must make a decision based on what they think is right and true. These three characters probably just faced the most important decision of their lives. Whether right or wrong their went with what they thought was the right decision within their heart of hearts.

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    srry that doesn't pertain to anything u wanted

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