The Crucible

Miller uses The Crucible to express his own views on what was happening in America at the time-McCarthyism he uses John Procter as he is interested in the person who doesn’t allow himself to be caught up in hysteria but thinks for himself and stands up for his values against all odds. To see how Arthur Miller does this we have to analyze the character of John Procter in the play. John Procter is a complex character. He is respected in the town of Salem when he signs his confession Parris says-
‘It is a weighty name; it will strike the village that Procter confess’
This shows that the people of Salem see him as a good citizen, however he is independent he has a strong opinion about Parris the minister, which he demonstrates many times:
‘I have trouble enough without I come five mile to hear him preach only hellfire and bloody damnation’ ‘Can you speak one minute before we land in hell again I am sick of hell’
Procter is also very honest, speaking the truth no matter what
‘your father had a habit of willing land that never belonged to him, if I may say it plain ‘
Although Procter is seen as a good man he is racked with guilt after being lecherous with his wife’s servant, Abigail .He is very remorseful and wishes to do right by his wife from now on although he is still tempted
‘Abigail I may think of you softly from time to time. But I will cut off my hand before I reach for you again. Wipe it out of mind. We never touched Abby.’
His emotional scene with Elizabeth shows how he tries to do the best by her but fails:
‘I’ll not have your suspicion any more’ Elizabeth: ‘then let you earn it’
Miller believes that society is never an excuse for our failings, and that we are responsible for ourselves, and Procter is constantly willing to stand up and be counted, to live up to his name except that human weakness and guilt sometimes drag him down. This weakness and guilt make him easier to identify with, he is not perfect, but flawed In the final act Procter struggles with his final decision he makes up his mind with difficulty but believes his final decision is correct-
Then who will judge me? God in Heaven, what is John Procter? I think it is honest, I think so; I am no saint. Let Rebecca go like a saint; for me it is fraud!’ He struggles with his decision, but decides; Hale: ‘Man you will hang you cannot!’ Procter: ‘I can. And there’s your first marvel, that I can. You have made your magic now, for now I do think I see some shred of goodness in John Procter. Not enough to weave a banner with, but white enough to keep it from such dogs.’
Miller uses the Salem witch-hunt to put forward his views on McCarthyism-the hunting down and prosecuting of any Americans who were thought to have taken part in anti-capitalism. The accusations became hysterical and many people were asked to ‘name names’ of people in meetings held many years previously. Miller himself was brought before the committee led by Joseph McCarthy. Miller saw the public confessions required by the committee, as parallels with the naming of names at Salem in 1692
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