The Theme of Justice in The Crucible
The crucible was set in 1692 in Salem, Massachusetts. The play is
based on true facts about events that actually took place. It is about
a small secluded town that relies strongly on their religion to keep
them feeling safe. Their enemy is the devil and they are always scared
of the devil and constantly looking for signs that the devil is there.
“We cannot leap to witchcraft. They will howl me out of Salem for such
corruption in my house.”
The fear of the devil gets so strong the town’s justice system take
strong actions to keep everyone safe. The paradox between justice and
freedom is very unbalanced. The justice and courts are so strict none
of the Salem people have their own personal freedom.
Miller is questioning the fairness of the justice in Salem and that of
the justice system in the US in the 50’s at the time he wrote the
play. This is called an allegory. In the 50’s McCarthyism was the
suppression of communism. Anyone accused of being a communist would be
put into prison. Anyone who criticized the government was brought
before the court and asked to name people they had seen at communist
meetings. Arthur Miller did not agree with the system and wanted to
get his views across. If he wrote a play about Senator McCarthy and
his justice systems faults then he would have been arrested and the
play would not have been shown. He made the play about the witchcraft
in Salem to cover up his true meaning whilst being a polemic teaching
people of the corruption in the justice system.
The characters in Salem all represent people from the US in the 50’s.
The Judges represent the Senators. Miller makes them disliked by the
audience by showing the unfairness of their justice and how they lose
sight of what should be a punishable crime.
“this is a court of law. The law, based upon the Bible, and the Bible,
writ by Almighty God,”
They consider God to be the most important thing. The Salem judges
think that if someone is religious then they are good people. This is
not always correct, one lady could not remember her prayers and they
thought she was a bad person. The audience realizes that remembering
something has nothing to do with whether they are good or bad. This is
similar to the US in the 50’s because they would have decided someone
worthy of prison if they were suspected of being a communist
sympathizer Miller was trying to put across the message to people to
get them to think about what their evidence really means and if what
people are convicted over is actually meaningless.
Miller himself felt how unjust the system could be. In the US he was
accused of being a communist. He represented himself in the play as
the character of John Proctor. Proctor saw through the Justice system
and was accused of plotting against it.
“There lurks nowhere in your heart, nor hidden in your spirit any
desire to undermine this court?”
This shows by not allowing...