“The Crucible” is a modern tragedy written within the perspective of a historic incident of Salem’s witchcraft but, the play highlights the vindictiveness of McCarthyism and Communists trails in America in twentieth century.
The play comprises almost all the elements of a modern tragedy. Though it’s fairly different from other tragedies because it brings forth a narrative of historic significance, but the protagonist of the play, John Proctor, shares a lot with a modern man. Miller has blended intellectual, social, moral and psychological issues of a modern man within the character of Proctor.
There are many arguments whether this play is a tragedy or not. The left hand critics declare “The Crucible” isn’t a tragedy because it doesn’t fulfill all of the conditions set by Aristotle, that the protagonist ought to be a royal birth and the center of consideration of everybody as it is not uncommon within the plays of Sophocles and Shakespeare to have the ability to arouse the sentiments of pity and fear related to a tragedy. But this accusation doesn’t maintain much strength, as in the world of today kings and princes aren’t present with related pomp and show. So, the presentation of a royal figure could be unrealistic and fictitious.
Moreover, modern man isn’t confronted with supernatural elements just like the heroes of classical plays. Rather today’s man is at struggle with society to have a dignified and a respectable place in it. Now every man is a center of his own consideration. The basic downside of modern man is to find out his place in his environment. So, the idea of tragedy ought to be modified in accordance with the necessities of time and age. Thus, a modern tragedy is a tragedy of a layman because a modern man is a layman. So, modern tragedy is a tragedy of every man.
Arthur Miller stands head and shoulders above the modern American dramatists. He keenly observes the battle between the aims and objectives of a person and his social environment, and fantastically presents these conflicts in his plays. In this play, The Crucible, he presents the picture of a “guilt-ridden man”.
Read About: Witch-Hunting or Witchcraft in The Crucible
John Proctor is a typical countryman, a farmer by occupation. He is respected for his uprightness and concern for his sharp dealing with hypocrites. The author says that in his presence “A fool felt his foolishness instantly”. But Proctor additionally holds guilt on his name. He has been sexually concerned with a girl, Abigail. Proctor is deeply repentant on his sin of adultery and on betraying his spouse, Elizabeth. He can not came out of this guilt until the end and feels that his salvation isn’t possible and that he can not climb up the altar steps with the dignity of righteous individuals. Consider his assertion to Elizabeth:
“Let them that never lie, die now to keep their souls. It is a pretense for me, a vanity that will not blind God nor keep my children out of the wind”.
But he reaches a dignified position by proper determination ultimately. Thus the eye of the playwright is on the ethical choice of Proctor. Though he’s a sinner, but he’s a person of excellent conscience.
It is also to be noted that in Miller’s plays, the disaster rises from some sexual sin. In fact, he desires to enhance the significance of family life, if the principles of marriage are usually not abide by the downfall in sure to come in one or the opposite manner. Miller says:
“I cannot live apart from society”.
He thinks that ethical honesty can’t be separated from a dedication to the society. Though a person and the surroundings don’t merely work together, but they’re the part of one another “a fish is in water and the water is in fish”. Miller implies this dictum to each human being and proves it by his protagonist that each person has to reside in harmony along with his environment.
Read About: Title of “The Crucible” by Arthur Miller
Proctor has been introduced as a insurgent of society. He leads a life of isolation –partly due to his disgrace and partly of his cussed manner and this isolation and inactivity turns into his flaw. At first, Proctor denies the significance of society stays away from the paths of witch hunt and even throughout his path takes egocentric determination to save his life. But later, he has to simply accept that he’s nothing with out his environment. He realizes what he owes to his neighbors. He is aware of that his acceptance of being a witch would drastically demoralize the individuals and they’d not fight in opposition to this brutal act.
“I blacken all of them when this is nailed to the church the very day they hang for silence”.
Miller presents self-discovery of his protagonist inside all of the action of the play. The self-quest of Proctor begins when Elizabeth repeatedly pleads him to evaluate him. He has lost faith in his goodness and desires some outer action to invoke him to a sure determination. But Elizabeth pushes him to take his determination after which he asks for divine assist and cries out:
“God in Heaven! What is John Proctor?”
And soon he gets the reply. In the ultimate moments of his life, he realizes that he has not but lost tall of his virtue, for at the very least he is aware of his accountability in direction of his neighbors. He utters:
“I do think I see shred of goodness in John Proctor”.
On a broader degree, “The Crucible”, can also be a social tragedy. Miller describes now innocent individuals are mercilessly convicted and murdered solely to save an ideology. By the time of the settings of the play, Puritan’s church and authorities is losing control over people. This is due to the corruption of clergymen, offered by Parris within the play. The weirdly self-importance and hellish sermons of such clergymen take individuals away from the church. So church has an ever growing concern of losing authority over the lots of individuals and this concern really turns into the basic reason behind such large spread blood-shed. Thus Puritan church and authorities make determined try to carry the individuals of their grip by using a citation of Bible which says:
“Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live”
However, this attempt proves futile however deadly, which rather than shifting the minds of individuals in direction of the Puritan church causes their death and destruction.
Miller’s play is taken on an allegorical degree, for although today’s topics have changed up to now but the subject matter is ever the identical. The individual is sure to society in the identical manner, as John Proctor is within the play, whereas the authorities are as furious and anxious to carry their power as the Puritan church and authorities in Salem.
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