Belonging in The Crucible
Belonging in the playCommunity Belonging vs Individual BeliefsHysteriaReputation & BelongingBelief & ControlPersecuting those who dont belongAlienation
Community Belonging vs Individual Beliefs.Salem society of the time was theocraticStrict moral codes governed societyIf an individual went against these codes then they were seen as a threat to the societyIn order to belong, an individual had to conform to the norms of society.If the individual didnt conform then they were seen as Devil worshippers
Community Belonging vs Individual Beliefs.The community lived in close proximity, therefore private business was public domain.With the witchcraft accusations in full swing the authorities needed to cleanse the town by hanging the accused and restoring order.The characters in The Crucible have only two choices to belong to the community, support those in power and punish the accused or not belong to this community and be punished.
HysteriaHysteria plays a significant role in dividing the community of Salem- those who belong and those who dont.The fervour of accusations destroys rational thought and allows members of the community to believe that their neighbours are capable of killing babies and communing with the Devil.The hysteria allows people to satisfy their own personal grudges (egs?)Guilt by association was used to control people and further divide the communityTo belong to this society, an individual must adhere to strict moral codes even in the face of baseless accusations.
Reputation and BelongingA persons name (reputation) was very important in Salem.Without a good reputation, a person would be an outcast in society you dont belong.Protecting your reputation is vitally important to belonging in this society.John Proctor
Reputation and BelongingJohn Proctor - He initially avoids becoming involved in the witchcraft trials because he fears that his affair with Abigail will become known and that it will ruin his reputation. Proctors sense of belonging is compromised because of his affair with Abigail and her accusations.He attempts to destroy Abigails reputation by admitting his adultery, only this fails when Elizabeth tries to protect his reputation by lying. At the end of the play, Proctor refuses to accuse innocent people of witchcraft and stain their good names. He finally refuses to sign his confession and goes the gallows with his name and honour intact.
Reputation and BelongingIn Salem, reputation is very fragile. You could destroy it by associating with the wrong people.One way to protect your reputation was by denouncing others naming names.What comments about human nature is Miller making here?
John ProctorElizabeth Proctor
Belief & ControlWhen the authorities in Salem choose to believe the accusations of witchcraft, they are able to use this to control the population under the guise of eradicating evil. Abigail, like the other women in Salem, holds a lower position in society. She is also an orphan, thus limiting her opportunities and giving her an even lower status in the community. When her accusations of witchcraft are believed, she holds considerable power in the court room and the community. Her affair with Proctor and its sudden end have sparked her jealousy and anger and fuel the insistence of her accusations and her determination to hold on to her power, not only over the girls who perpetuate her story, but over the whole community. For characters such as Danforth, Hathorne and Parris , believing her story is simply another means of separating those members of the community into those who belong and those who do not, in their efforts to keep the community together, regardless of the tragic consequences.
Persecuting those who dont belongThe witch trials show how easily the conventions and values of society can be used to persecute those who question authority and stand outside the mainstream. The case of John and Elizabeth Proctor is a good example of this.The Proctors stand outside some of the accepted values of Salem society as they are critical of these values. John is vocal about his objections to Revered Parris and particularly Parriss monetary greed. He openly admits his failure to attend church regularly and he works the fields on Sunday. When questioned, Proctor also explains why is third son has not been baptised.These facts are used as items of evidence for the prosecution in Proctors case. Although each of these details has no relevance to the accusations of witchcraft they are used to marginalise Proctor and show that he does not belong. It is the ruling elite that is determining the criteria by which people are judged.Proctors final refusal to sign a confession forms the end and the climax of the play. This act of defiance reflects the plays message about individual liberty.
Persecuting those who dont belongThere are characters in the play that never belong Sarah Good, Tituba, Bridget Bishop. They are women, poor, destitute and on the fringe of Salem society.These characters are easy targets and labelled witches. There is no general outcry at the start of the accusations as some people believed it was cleansing the village of these types of people (eg?). It is only when the morally upright citizens (Proctor, Rebecca Nurse) are accused that people begin to question the validity of the accusations.What is Miller suggesting through this theme?
Abigail and the girlsMary Warren
AlienationThe society of Salem required people to conform, if you did not conform, you were alienated from society an outcast.Characters that do not conform Proctor, Giles, Hale (later in the play). What are their reasons? What are the consequences?Mary Warren described at the start as a nave girl, she is then persuaded by Proctor to tell the truth.In the courtroom scene, we see how Abigail and the other girls alienate her. Her resolve is weakened and she turns on Proctor accusing him of witchcraft.Through her character, we see the strong desire for acceptance (belonging) to the group.
Dramatic Techniques used in The CrucibleStructureSettingDialogueCharacterisationSymbolismDramatic IronyJuxtaposition characters and settings
Dramatic TechniquesIn groups select an Act from the play.Analyse the act in terms of 2 ideas about belonging that it represents (think about which idea is appropriate for your act) and how this is presented. Dont forget examples!Post your analysis on the wiki