The Theme Development in The Crucible
3 Pages
637 Words

The Crucible by Arthur Miller is a historical play,

but more importantly a social and psychological drama.

The various ways the themes are developed through The

Crucible are through characters, plot, setting and

The importance of the witch-trials is, according to

Raymond Williams, that in them 'the moral crisis of a

society is explicit, is directly enacted and stated,

in such a way that the quality of the whole way of

life is organically present and evident in the

qualities of persons' (Drama from Ibsen to Brecht,

1968). For Williams this is a dramatic device that

enables the playwright to explore the evil forces in

Salem society let loose by the revelation of

Rebecca nurse warns that 'there is prodigious danger

in the seeking of loose spirits. I fear it. I fear it.

Let us rather blame ourselves!' But her warning is not

heeded and a pandora's box is opened. We see the greed

of Thomas Putnam; the quest for revenge on those who

have wronged them, carried out by Martha Corey and

Abigail Williams; Ann Putnam's jealousy of the fertile

Rebecca Nurse and Abigail's jealousy of Elizabeth

Proctor; the ambition of Hale and Parris, both of whom

seek public approval; the fear of punishment that

initially motivates Abigail and the other girls; then

the revelling in power they display during the trial.

Above all The Crucible investigates the mass hysteria

The notion of evil is central to The Crucible. To

understand the play without thinking about what Miller

is trying to say on the subject is not possible. It is

obvious that we are looking at wickedness as it is

after all, the story of a witch-trial, and involves a

good deal of both physical and spiritual cruelty. What

is not so obvious is that the playwright is setting up

two different models of evil. He shows us what people

take it to be, and then demonstrates th


Related Essays: