Major themes in The Crucible, analyzed (2023)

Major themes in The Crucible, analyzed (1)

the crucibleIt remains a staple of high school English as it is rich in subjects that are consistently relevant to people regardless of the time period. But these themes are not always easy to explain or analyze in the context of the play, and can be even more difficult to develop in essays. For an overview of what a topic is, read on for a list of important topics inthe cruciblewith specific details from act to act and a summary of how to use this information in your essays and other assignments.

What is a topic? Why are topics important?

Before you get down to the nitty gritty, howthe crucibleTopics are expressed, let's give a brief overview of what Topics are and why they are important.A theme is a central theme treated by a literary work.Themes can be expressed in many different ways. On a part likethe crucibleIts themes are mostly revealed through character dialogue. They are also revealed through plot events.

Themes tell us what the purpose of the work is. What is the author trying to convey to the viewer?the crucibleThe themes lent artistic longevity to the work because they are more or less universal to human experience over time.When you expect to write an impressive essay about itthe crucibleYou must have extensive knowledge of your subjects. If you can show that you understand the themes of a work of literature, you clearly understand the material at a deeper level.In the next few sections, I'll take a look at a group of common topicsthe crucible, including irony, hysteria, prestige and power.

Theme 1: Irony

First, what is irony? Many people get the impression that irony is easy when something happens that you don't expect (or really hope won't happen). In reality,The real irony only occurs when a situation is exactly the opposite of what you would expect.The classic example of the abuse of irony is found in Alanis Morisette's song "Ironic" when she says that "it rains on your wedding day" is an example of irony. Well it isn't. Sure, you don't expect or want rain, but it's not the opposite of getting married. A real example of irony would be when two married guests fight to come to your wedding, which ends in divorce.

Irony abounds in everythingthe cruciblelikeCharacters who think they are fighting the devil's work are actually doing it themselves.The cruelty with which supposed witches are treated aims to purify Salem, but achieves the opposite. The city continues to descend into chaos and paranoia until it reaches a point of total devastation.As Reverend Hale said to Danforth: “Your Honor, there are orphans who wander from house to house; Abandoned cattle roar in the streets, the stench of rotting crops hangs everywhere, and no one knows when the whores' screams will end their lives, and you still wonder if the rebellion has spoken. (Act 4, p. 121).

Ironically, the court's attempts to uphold Puritan morality by imprisoning and executing accused witches resulted in the removal of society's most virtuous.These people are the only ones who refuse to make false accusations or lie about their involvement in the witchcraft for which they are being convicted (this is Rebecca Nurse's fate). This means that much of the remaining population is power-hungry, selfish and cowardly.

Akt 1

There are several ironies in Act 1 that focus on Abigail Williams.In her conversation with John, Abigail claims he helped her see through all the lies she was being told by two-faced people in Salem who publicly only conform to the conventions of respectable society (p. 22).The irony is that in the face of John's rejection, Abigail withdraws and soon after believes her own lies, which give her more control over the society that upsets her.She puts on a false facade to get what she wants and creates a personality even worse than the hypocrites who criticize her.Abigail's many delusions are sometimes ridiculously ironic as she berates others for lying, even when fabricating untruths.In this act, she yells "Don't lie!" directly to Tituba before telling some of the play's most damning lies and accusing Tituba of witchcraft ("She comes to me while I sleep; always makes me dream of corruption! p. 41).

Hale also makes some unintentionally ironic statements in Act 1 as he begins his investigation.He explains that in their investigation of Betty's illness, they should not jump to conclusions based on superstition.Hale believes that a scientific investigation based solely on fact and reality can be conducted to discover a supernatural presence. That's ironic becauseThe search for "devil's marks" as a possible cause of disease is inherently superstitious.

Once the accusations begin, Parris engages in a wry train of thought that continues throughout.The Crucible:"You will confess or I will take you out and whip you to death, Tituba!" (p. 42).This confess-or-die mentality is one of the play's central ironies.The whole purpose of a trial is to hear both sides of the story before making a judgment.By telling people to confess to their crimes or be hanged, authorities are showing that they have already decided the person is guilty, regardless of the evidence presented in their defense.

Akt 2

In Act 2, John Proctor's guilt in his affair with Abigail is demonstrated by a tongue-in-cheek exchange with Reverend Hale.When Hale asks him to recite her commandments, he only forgets about adultery.This is also the commandment that he most blatantly violated., so you'd think that would be the first thing that comes to mind.The fact that he only forgets this one commandment shows that he is doing his best to suppress his guilt.

This act also shows the irony of Hale speaking about the "forces of darkness" attacking Salem (p. 61).This is irony of the same kind that I discussed in the overview on the subject.Hale fails to realize that her own fears and suspicions are the true forces of darkness.Salem is assailed by a hysteria fostered by the same people who try to keep imaginary supernatural demons at bay.

Akt 3

In Act 3, Hale continues with tongue-in-cheek statements about the existence of hard evidence for the witchcraft allegations.Trumpeting his sacred credentials, he asserts that "I would not dare take life without evidence so impeccable that not even the slightest scruple of conscience can doubt it" (p. 91).This "unblemished evidence" that prompted him to sign countless death warrants is nothing more than the inventions of teenagers and other townspeople out for small revenge.These kinds of statements by Hale early in the play become even more ironic in Act 4, when he realizes he made a terrible mistake in trusting the "evidence" presented to him.

Abigail's presence is always full of ironythe crucible, as she constantly punishes others for the sins she has committed herself.When questioned and claiming to have seen Mary's familiar ghost, she says, "Envy is a mortal sin, Mary." Abigail herself acted out of envy throughout the play.Her jealousy over Elizabeth Proctor's position as John's wife led her to an assassination attempt, first because of the spell in the forest and now because she accused Elizabeth of witchcraft.

Isabel falls victim to a cruel irony in this law when she is subpoenaed to testify about the reasons she evicted Abigail from her home.John has already admitted that the case was the reason for Abigail's resignation.John urges the judge to ask for Elizabeth's assistance because he knows she always tells the truth.Ironically, although usually extremely honest, in this situation Elizabeth chooses to lie to protect John's reputation, unaware that he has already confessed.This well-intentioned mistake seals the fate of both of them.

Akt 4

In Act 4, it's Danforth's turn to shine in the irony department.He is appalled at Elizabeth's callousness when she asks him to help the court obtain a confession from her husband (p. 123).This attitude comes from a man who throughout the play has shown no remorse for putting people to death.He refers to John's refusal to confess as "a disaster" and looks beyond his own part to the greater disaster of conviction that has brought John to this point.

Later in Act 4, Danforth is furious at the suggestion that John's confession may not be the truth.he insists,"I don't have the power to change your life for a lie" (p. 130). Of course, we know that Danforth has been changing people's lives through lies all along.He has sentenced people to death for lying about their black magic dealings and accepted other false confessions from those who would rather lie than be executed.To Danforth, anything that doesn't confirm that he was right all along is a lie.

discussion questions

Here are some questions on this topic to test your understanding of irony and its importance as a topicthe crucible:

(Video) The Crucible | Themes and Summary analysis

  • How ironic is Parris' fate in Act 4 given his role in the play's events?
  • Why do certain characters seem oblivious to the irony of their actions (Abigail, Danforth)?
  • Why is hypocrisy so common in oppressive communities like Salem?
  • Explain the irony of Hale's position at the end of the play compared to his actions at the beginning.

Major themes in The Crucible, analyzed (2)Hale mistakenly assumes that his academic mindset will protect him from wrong conclusions in witchcraft research. Ironically, he is the first to demand a confession from Tituba based on Abigail's dramatic but false testimony.

Theme 2: Hysteria

The thematic meaning of hysteriaIt quickly increases as allegations of witchcraft mount in Salem.The power of mass hysteria eventually becomes insurmountable because it overcomes the influence of the few rational voices in the community.The seeds are planted in Act 1 when Abigail is questioned about her activities in the forest, eventually accusing Tituba of witchcraft to avoid punishment.The city, already full of rumors about black magic, quickly accepts that the first accused women are involved in black magic because they are beggars and slaves.Nobody believes that the prosecutors lie, partly because they think they are innocent children, partly because many "witches" admit to having escaped the death penalty.

Armed with the false evidence of these coerced confessions, court officials aggressively pursue each defendant.Hysteria blinds the people of Salem to the belief that a major satanic conspiracy is brewing in the city, and they must not hesitate to condemn anyone who might be involved.This is a lesson in how fear can distort perceptions of reality, even for those considered reasonable under normal circumstances.

Akt 1

Even before Abigail made any accusations, rumors of witchcraft had become accepted truths in the minds of the more superstitious members of the community.Ann Putnam takes every opportunity to blame supernatural forces for the deaths of her children.Ann's extreme conclusions are beginning to be accepted because sensible people are too afraid to challenge the consensus and risk prosecution.Hale's involvement is understood to mean that Betty's illness must have a supernatural element.Rational explanations are backed up by the drama of the rumor mill, and people only see what they want to see.(everything that keeps them in the good graces of society andmakes her feel her best) in situations that seem to have no simple explanations.

The madness begins in earnest with Abigail's claim that Tituba and Ruth summoned spirits in the forest.Parris is extremely shocked by this revelation as it will damage his reputation.Thomas Putnam tells him to "wait until nobody accuses you, explain it yourself".Parris must rush to be the first accuser to get past any allegations. It is a toxic strategy that causes panic to spread quickly and fear of life to replace rationality.Tituba is pressured into confessing and naming other "witches" to avoid execution, leading to Abigail and Betty's accusations, which are now corroborated by a forced confession.This vicious circle takes more and more people's lives as the play progresses.

Akt 2

In Act 2, about 40 people are in prison accused of witchcraft.Many people will confess when threatened with execution, and that only adds to the paranoid atmosphere.The authorities ignore any uncomfortable logical objection to the process because they, too, are being driven insane.The hysterical atmosphere and dramatic performances by some of the accusers lead people to believe they have seen real evidence of witchcraft.Each new false confession is thrown into the heap of "evidence" of a great satanic conspiracy, and as the heap grows, the hysteria surrounding it is generously fed.

Such "evidence" of hysteria-based witchcraft includes the discovery of the doll in Proctor's house with a needle.Elizabeth's side of the story is ignored because Abigail's testimony is far more dramatic."She sat down to dinner at the Reverend Parris's tonight and without saying or realizing it, she fell to the ground. Like a defeated animal, she said, and cried out a cry a bull would cry to hear. And he will save her . . , and poking two inches into the flesh of his belly, he drew out a needle." (Cheever p. 71).The notion of a witch's familiar being able to stab people is too terrifying for the superstitious and now hysterical residents of Salem to agree with Elizabeth when the odds are over. Nobody even thinks about Mary's statement about sticking the needle in herself. In this environment, those who shout the loudest seem to have more credibility.

Akt 3

The depths of hysteria that gripped Salem are revealed in Act 3 when John is finally brought to justice.Danforth makes compelling arguments for the way trials were conducted, insisting that only victim testimony can serve as reliable evidence in this type of trial.He is totally unaware of the fact that the "victims" may be lying.The court refuses to charge anyone who claims to have been affected.

When the petition certifying the accused women's good character is presented, the response of Danforth, Hathorne and Parris is to arrest the signers, rather than considering that this could be an indication that the women are innocent.Danforth is convinced that "a plot is underway to overthrow Christ in the land!" and anyone who challenges the court's decisions is potentially involved.They are so afraid of the diabolical consequences of defying the accusers that they are willing to take their word for it and ignore any defense of the accused.Nowhere is ulterior motives considered.

The power of mass hysteria is further demonstrated when Mary doesn't faint in front of a loaded courtroom.She believed she had seen ghosts before because she was caught up in the illusions of those around her.Abigail distracts the judges from any rational investigation of this act and plays on the hysteria.Danforth, who wields the most authority, is also the most confident in his deed, and a few shouts are all it takes to convince him he is close to witchcraft.This leads to Mary's hysterical accusation of Proctor after she finds herself in the other girls' crosshairs and about to be consumed with hysteria if she doesn't contribute.

Akt 4

Danforth continues to demonstrate the effects of hysteria in Act 4 even after things have calmed down a bit in Salem.and there were rumors of dissatisfaction with the court's actions.As John makes his confession, Danforth says to Rebecca Nurse: "Well, madam, you will surely see that there is no point in continuing this conspiracy. will you confess to him (p. 129)He is still convinced that all prisoners are guilty.and is determined to force her to admit her guilt.

Danforth is also frustrated with Proctor when he doesn't mention names in his confession.: "Mr. Proctor, about twenty people have already testified that they saw [Rebecca Nurse] with the devil" (p. 130).Danforth insists that John must know more about the devil's workings than he's let on.Although Rebecca Nurse's involvement has since been confirmed by other confessors, Danforth demands to hear from John to confirm that John is fully committed to renouncing his alleged ties to Satan.

discussion questions

Here are some questions about hysteria to consider after reading a synopsis of how this theme was expressed throughout the play's plot:

  • like him hysteria no Start Game?
  • What are the factors fueling panic and suspicion in Salem and why? Officers (like Danforth) are unable or unwilling to listen to reason?
  • Is there another character besides John Proctor who represents the voice of common sense in the midst of madness?
  • Why is Cheever shocked and scared when he finds the doll with the needle? Why is everyone so quick to believe Abigail's story?
  • Danforth explains that witchcraft is an invisible crime and only victims can be trusted. How does this philosophy perpetuate the hysteria?

Major themes in The Crucible, analyzed (3)
While there is good reason to believe Abigail is lying about Elizabeth's familiars stabbing her, desperate investigators ignore statements that challenge her chosen witchcraft narrative.

Theme 3: Reputation

Reputation issues are a topic that comes to the fore at most eventsThe Crucible.While plots are often motivated by fear and a desire for power and revenge, they are also underpinned by underlying concerns about how losing reputation will negatively impact the characters' lives.John's concern for his reputation runs throughout the play, and his reluctance to reveal Abigail's true nature is a product of his own fear of being labeled an adulterer.

Once there are enough convictions, the reputation of the judges also plays a role. They are very apt to believe that they have made the right sentencing decisions so far in court and are therefore reluctant to accept new evidence that might prove them wrong.The importance attached to reputation helps perpetuate hysteria as it leads to indolence, inflexibility, and in many cases active sabotage of the reputation of others for selfish ends. The general message is thisWhen a person's actions are motivated by a desire to uphold positive public opinion rather than doing what is morally right, the consequences can be extremely dire.

(Video) The Crucible by Arthur Miller | Themes

Akt 1

Reverend Parris' concerns about his reputation are immediately evident in Act 1.Parris initially insists that "there are no unnatural causes" for Betty's illness, fearing losing favor with the townspeople if witchcraft is discovered under her roof.He aggressively questions Abigail for fear that his enemies will learn the full story of what happened in the forest first, thereby discrediting him.Parris rushes to the accusers' side as soon as Abigail strikes the first blow, immediately threatening violence against Tituba if he doesn't confess (p. 42).He doesn't seem to have a governing moral system. Their only goal is to please the community as a whole, even amid this outbreak of mass hysteria.

Abigail also expresses concern for her reputation.He is furious when Parris questions his suspicious dismissal from the Proctor household.Abigail insists she did nothing to deserve it and tries to blame Elizabeth Proctor.She says: "My name is good in the city! I won't let my name be bad! Goody Proctor is a gossip liar!” (Page 12)el fifirst act ofthe crucibleClearly states that a bad reputation can seriously and irreparably damage a person's position in this society.

Akt 2

In this law, we learn more details about the defendants, which paints a clearer picture of the impact of reputation and social standing on prosecution patterns.Goody Good, an old beggar, is one of the first to be labeled a witch.youBetter citizens can easily accept that she is in league with the devil because she is an "Other" in Salem, just like Tituba.When Abigail accuses Elizabeth, the wife of a respected farmer, she shows she's willing to take big risks to get Elizabeth out of the picture.She is not as traditionally accepted as a target as the others (except in her susceptibility as a woman to the misogyny that is rife in the play).

In Act 2, the value of reputation in Salem begins to collide with the power of hysteria and fear to sway people's minds (and revenge dictate their actions).Rebecca Nurse, a woman whose character was believed to be innocent, is charged and arrested.This is taken as evidence that things are really getting out of hand ("If Rebecca Nurse is contaminated, then there is nothing that can stop the whole green world from burning." Hale, p. 67).Those in power continue to believe the accusers out of fear for their own safety, driving the hysteria to a point where no one is above conviction.

At the end of this act, John Proctor delivers a brief monologue in which he anticipates the imminent loss of the appropriate clothing worn by himself and other members of the Salem community.The faces people show in public are meant to win the respect of the community, but the witch trials have disrupted that system.Proctor's reputation is almost a burden to him now, because he knows he didn't deserve it. Somehow,John welcomes the loss of his reputation because he feels so guilty about the discrepancy between how others see him and the sins he has committed.

Akt 3

John Proctor sabotages his own reputation in Act 3 after realizing it's the only way to discredit Abigail.This is a decision with dire consequences in a city where reputation is so important, a fact that contributes to the misunderstandings that follow.Elizabeth doesn't realize that John is willing to sacrifice his reputation to save her life.She continues to believe her reputation is of paramount importance to him and does not divulge the matter. This lie brings them both to failure.

Again, Danforth is worried about its reputation. OHe refers to the many judgment decisions he has already made in the trials of the accused.If Danforth accepts Mary's testimony, it would mean that he has already wrongly convicted many people. This fact can destroy your credibility., so he's willing to keep trusting Abigail.Danforth takes great pride in his intelligence and insight. This makes him particularly reluctant to accept that a young girl cheated on him.

Akt 4

Although hysteria has taken over the reputation of the accused in the last two acts, the stickiness of its original reputation becomes clear in the fourth act.John and Rebecca's good reputation causes their executions to be denied, even though people were too afraid to defend them in the middle of the trials.Parris asks Danforth to postpone the executions as she fears for her life if the executions go as planned.He says, "I wish it weren't so, Excellency, but these people still carry a great deal of weight in the city" (p. 118).

However, this is at odds with Danforth's desire to maintain his reputation as a strong judge.He believes that “the postponement now speaks of hesitation on my part; Forgiveness or pardon should raise doubts about the guilt of those who have died so far. As long as he speaks the law of God, I will not break his voice with sighing” (p. 119).Danforth's image is extremely valuable to him, and he refuses to let Parris' concerns distract from his belief in the validity of his decisions.

In the final events of Act 4,John Proctor must make a difficult choice between losing his dignity or losing his life. The price you have to pay to save your own life is very high.He chooses to die rather than make a false confession because he doesn't believe life is worth living after falling from grace. How do you say,"How can I live without my name? I gave you my soul; leave me my name!” (p. 133)

discussion questions

Here are some discussion questions to consider after reading my synopsis of how the issue of reputation motivates characters and story developmentthe crucible:

  • How is character behavior affected by concern for their reputation? Is reputation more important than truth?
  • Why doesn't John tell the court right away that he knows Abigail is faking it?
  • How does pride keep Parris from doing anything to stop the progression of events in the play?
  • Why does Mary Warren warn John not to testify against Abigail? Why did you decide to do it anyway?
  • Why does John decide to ruin his reputation in act 3 by confessing to the affair?
  • How is Rebecca Nurse's arrest a sign that Salem hysteria is out of control?
  • How does reputation affect who is first accused of witchcraft?

Major themes in The Crucible, analyzed (4)If you're an old beggar who sometimes takes refuge in that creepy shack, you better believe that these idiots will turn on you as soon as anyone says the word "witch".

Theme #4: Power and Authority

The desire to retain and gain power pervadesthe crucibleas the witch trials lead to dramatic changes in which the characters have more control over the course of events.Abigail's power increases as the hysteria increases.Where she was once just an orphaned teenager, she now becomes star witness into the inner workings of a satanic conspiracy in the midst of trials.She has the power to completely destroy people's lives with a single charge because she is seen as both a victim and a savior.

The main pillars of traditional power are the law and the church.These two institutions mergethe crucibleActively encourage accusers and discourage rational explanations of events. Authority figures essentially give girls permission to proceed with their act because they feel special and important for their participation.Rulers are so concerned about preserving their power that it is seen as a personal affront and an attack on their authority when someone disagrees with them in the way court proceedings are conducted. Danforth, Hathorne, and Parris become even more rigid in their opinions when they feel they are being attacked.

Akt 1

As mentioned in the summary, religion has significant power over the people of Salem.Reverend Parris is in a position of power as the city's spiritual leader, but he is unsure of his authority.He believes there is a group of people in town who are determined to have him removed from that position andHe will say and do anything to stay in control.This causes problems across the board, as Parris allows his paranoia about losing his position to express itself in enthusiasm for the witch hunt.

Abigail, on the other hand, faces an uphill battle to gain more power over her situation.She is clearly outspoken and domineering, but her starting position in society is one of very little influence and authority.One way to a higher position and more control would be to become the wife of John Proctor.When she cannot get John to leave Elizabeth for her, she decides to take matters into her own hands and gain control by manipulating the fears of others.

Abigail blames Tituba first because Tituba is the only person below her on the ladder of power, making her an easy scapegoat.If Tituba could have explained what really happened, the ensuing tragedy could have been avoided.No one will listen to Tituba until he agrees to corroborate the version of events that people in traditional positions of authority have already accepted as true, a pattern that continues throughout the play.Tituba is forced to accept her role as a pawn to those in greater authority and a springboard for Abigail's rise to power.

Akt 2

In Act 2, there were notable changes in the power structure in Salem as a result of the ongoing trials.Mary Warren's self-esteem rose as a result of the perceived value of her involvement in court.Elizabeth notes that Mary's behavior now resembles that of a "prince's daughter" (p. 50).This new power is exciting and very dangerous becauseencourages girls to charge additional fees to maintain their worth in the eyes of the court.

(Video) The Crucible - Characters, Themes, & Analysis

Abigail in particular quickly went from being a nobody to one of the most influential people in Salem.Abigail's low status and apparent innocence under normal circumstances allow her to claim even greater power in her current situation.No one believes an orphaned teenager is capable of such total deception (or deception), so she will always be trusted.In one of the best-known quotes from the play, John Proctor angrily insists that "crazy boys jingle the keys to the kingdom" (p. 73), meaning the girls are testing the extent of chaos they can achieve. Create with your new power.

Akt 3

In Act 3, Abigail's power is shown in court.She openly threatens Danforth for considering Mary and John's allegations of cheating against her.Despite being the most powerful official figure at court, Danforth is easily manipulated by Abigail into appearing as a victim of witchcraft.He's already accepted her testimony as evidence, so he's glad he has an excuse to believe her instead of John and Mary.

John eventually realizes that Mary's true testimony is no match for the hysteria that has gripped the courtroom.The petition he submits to Danforth is used as a weapon against the signers instead of proving the innocence of Elizabeth, Martha and Rebecca. Abigail's version of events is believed to be true, even after John confessed to his affair in a last-ditch effort to discredit her.Logic is powerless against paranoia and superstition, even when the girls' claims are clearly fraudulent.John Proctor quits his agency at the end of Desperate Act 3given the court's determination to pursue the witchcraft charges and ignore all evidence of their untruth.

Akt 4

By Act 4, many of the power structures firmly established at the beginning of the play have crumbled.Reverend Parris fell from his position of authority as a result of the results of the trial.After Abigail's theft of his life savings, he is weak and vulnerable and even faces death threats from the townspeople over the imminent execution of John and Rebecca.In Act 1 he descended into hysteria to maintain his power, but eventually lost what little authority he had (and according to Miller, he was deposed shortly after the play ended). 🇧🇷

Prisoners have lost all faith in earthly authority and await God's judgment.The only power left to them is to refuse to confess and to protect their integrity.youBy flatly refusing to confess, Rebecca Nurse wields a great deal of power.The judges cannot force her to lie, and her martyrdom seriously undermines her legitimacy and favor with the townspeople.

discussion questions

Here are some discussion questions to consider after reading about the thematic role of concepts of power and authority in the events of the play:

  • How do the witch trials empower people who were previously powerless?
  • How does Reverend Hale make Tituba feel important?
  • Compare and contrast three authority figures in this drama: Hale, Danforth and Parris. What motivates your attitudes and reactions to the witch trials?
  • What makes Danforth so reluctant to consider that the girls could fake it?
  • Why does Mary Warren behave differently when involved in legal proceedings?
  • How do the actions of authority figures encourage girls to continue with their accusations and even truly believe the lies they tell?

Major themes in The Crucible, analyzed (5)Mary Warren when she returns from Salem in Act 2

A quick look at some othersthe cruciblesubjects

These are issues that can be viewed as subsets of the issues described in the previous sections, but there is also room to discuss them as independent issues. I'll briefly summarize how each plays a role in the events ofthe crucible.


The theme of guilt is central to John Proctor's character development throughout the play.John is incredibly embarrassed about his relationship with Abigail, so he tries to bury her and pretend it never happened. His guilt causes great distress in his interactions with Elizabeth because he projects his feelings onto her, accusing her of being judgmental and dwelling on her mistakes. In reality, he is constantly judging himself, and this leads to outbursts of anger towards other people who remind him of what he has done (he feels guilty enough as it is!).Hale also faces her guilt in Act 4 for her role in convicting the accused witches.who he now believes is innocent.

Here's a message about the options we have for dealing with guilt.John tries to crush his guilt rather than face it, which eventually makes it an even more destructive factor in his life. Hale tries to fight his guilt by coaxing the prisoners into confessing and refusing to accept that the damage has already been done. Both Hale and Proctor don't want to live with the consequences of their mistakes, so they try to ignore or undo their past actions.

Misogyny and representation of women

Miller's portrait of the woman inthe crucibleIt's a hotly debated topic.The attitudes toward women in the 1950s when the play was written is evident in the roles they were assigned.The most significant female character is Abigail, portrayed as a devious and heavily sexualized young woman. She is cast as a villain. So at the other end of the spectrum we have Rebecca Nurse. She is a sane, sane old woman who chooses to make herself a martyr over lying and professing witchcraft. The other two main female characters, Elizabeth and Mary Warren, are a bit boring. Elizabeth is defined by her relationship with John, and Mary is pushed around by other (mostly male) characters throughout the play.the cruciblepresents a view of women that essentially reduces them to caricatures of people who define themselves through their roles as mothers, wives and servants of men🇧🇷 Abigail is the only character to break out of this form a bit and is portrayed in an extremely unlikable way, although the power dynamic between her and John makes him all the more guilty in their illicit relationship.

not correct

Disappointment is a major driving force inthe crucible🇧🇷 This includes not only the accusatory lies about others' involvement in witchcraft, but also the lies people constantly tell about their own virtue and purity in such a repressive society.The riot in Salem is fueled by a lust for revenge and power that simmers beneath the city's peaceful facade.There is already a culture of keeping up appearances, which makes it natural for people to lie when the opportunity arises when their neighbors are engaging in satanic rituals (especially when it means avoiding similar accusations and even personal gain to protect).the crucibleis an example of how convenient lies can build upon each other to create a commonly accepted truth, even when there is no real evidence.

Major themes in The Crucible, analyzed (6)Even before the witch trials, the people of Salem used many little magic tricks to make all their unholy thoughts and actions go away. Open NEGATIVE!

how to write about itthe cruciblesubjects

It's one thing to understand the main themes in itthe crucible, and another thing is to write about it yourself.The essay prompts will ask about these topics in many different ways.Some will be very direct. An example would be something like:

"How are issues like hysteria, hunger for power, reputation or anything else functional in the drama? Choose a single character and discuss how that person embodies one of the themes. How is Miller's underlying message revealed in any of these themes and through the character?

In such a case, you would be writing directly about a specific topic related to one of the characters.Essay questions that explore topics in this simple way can be difficult because of the temptation to talk vaguely about the meaning of the topic. Always include specific details, including direct citations, to support your argument as to how the topic is expressed in the work.

Other essay questions may not directly ask about the topics listed in this article, but that doesn't mean the topics are irrelevant to your essay.This is another example of a possible essay question forthe crucibleThis is less explicit in his request that you discuss the themes of the play:

(Video) The Crucible by Arthur Miller | Summary & Analysis

"Most of the play's main characters have personal flaws and either contribute to or end in tragedy. Explain who you think is the central tragic figure in the play. What are your personal strengths and weaknesses? How does the central tragic figure change throughout the play and how does this relate to the play's title? How do outside forces contribute to the character's flaws and eventual downfall?"

In this case, you will be asked to discuss the concept of the tragic figure and explain who fits into that mold.the crucibleit's because.There are numerous connections between the characters' individual flaws and the overall themes of the play that could be included in this discussion. This is especially true for reputation and hysteria issues.If you were to argue that John Proctor was the tragic protagonist, you might say that his faults were an over-preoccupation with reputation and an over-reliance on the power of reason to overcome hysteria. Both mistakes resulted in him being late in telling the truth about Abigail's fraudulent claims and their past relationship, which sentenced him and many others to death or imprisonment.Even with prompts that ask you to talk about a specific character or plot point, you can find ways to connect your response to important issues.These connections reinforce your answers by relating them to key concepts discussed throughout the paper.

that follow?

Now that you have read the main topics inthe crucible, take a look at ourList of all characters in the play, including brief analyzes of their relationships and motivations.

You can alsoRead my full synopsis of The Crucible herefor an overview of what exactly happens in the plot in each act.

the crucibleis widely considered to be an allegorical depiction of the communist "witch hunt" in the 1950s.Details on the history and thematic parallels behind this connection.

Would you like to improve your SAT score by 160 points or your ACT score by 4 points?We've written a guide for each test with the 5 best strategies to use to stand a chance of improving your score. Download now for free:

Major themes in The Crucible, analyzed (7)

Major themes in The Crucible, analyzed (8)

Do you have friends who also need help preparing for the test?Share this article!

Major themes in The Crucible, analyzed (9)

Samantha Lindsay

About the author

Samantha is a blog content writer for PrepScholar. Her goal is to help students, through her articles, see standardized tests and other academic challenges less stressful. Samantha is also passionate about art and graduated with honors from Dartmouth College in 2014 with a major in Studio Art. In high school she scored 2,400 on the SAT, 5 on all seven AP tests and was named a National Merit Scholar.

Get free guides to improve your SAT/ACT

(Video) What are the Key Themes in The Crucible?


1. Video SparkNotes: Arthur Miller's The Crucible summary
2. 'The Crucible’ by Arthur Miller | GCSE Revision Mindmap! Plot & Characters (English GCSE Mocks)
(First Rate Tutors)
3. John Proctor Character Quotes & Word-Level Analysis! | The Crucible Quotations: English GCSE Mocks!
(First Rate Tutors)
4. Three Key Themes in The Crucible
5. Hysteria and Fear in The Crucible - Destroying Drama
(Schooling Online)
6. The Crucible Arthur Miller - Themes And Symbols
(Principles Of English)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Ouida Strosin DO

Last Updated: 04/27/2023

Views: 5537

Rating: 4.6 / 5 (76 voted)

Reviews: 91% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Ouida Strosin DO

Birthday: 1995-04-27

Address: Suite 927 930 Kilback Radial, Candidaville, TN 87795

Phone: +8561498978366

Job: Legacy Manufacturing Specialist

Hobby: Singing, Mountain biking, Water sports, Water sports, Taxidermy, Polo, Pet

Introduction: My name is Ouida Strosin DO, I am a precious, combative, spotless, modern, spotless, beautiful, precious person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.