Allusions in Arthur Millers “The Crucible” Essay
Allusions in Arthur Millers “The Crucible”
The Crucible contains many allusions, which is a reference to something supposed to be known, but not explicitly mentioned; a covert indication; indirect reference. Miller uses allusions to convey the theological beliefs and religious convictions of his characters.
There is chaos in the town after the people there find out that there might be witches that inhabited the village. Abigail and her friends are accusing people of being possessed by demons. When Hale shows up he is convinced that there are witches in the town and believes Abigail. As Abigail walks through the crowd of people surrounding the courtroom where a meeting is being held all the people disperse away from her creating a pathway. In the Old Testament Moses comes to a sea and places his staff into the ground and suddenly the seas part allowing the Moses and the slaves to pass through the other side. When Abigail passes through the crowd, it opens up just like what had happened in the Old Testament. This also is irony because Millers audience that is reading the play knows that Abigail is making up these false accusations, but some people in the town believe her and are making her into some kind of religious figure.
In the Crucible there is an allusion to Good vs. Evil. In Act III Danforth says, “a person is either with this court or he must be counted against it”(Miller 1137). The town is religiously and morally based so you are either classified under a believer or someone who believes in evil. The good people are seen as opponents of the court and the bad people are seen as proponents of the court. The irony in that is that the good people are treated like criminals and the criminals are treated like heroes.
Miller uses allusion to portray Reverend Hale. In the begging of the play Hale came to the town and wanted to make the town pure once again. He believed in everything that Abigail and the girls said and questioned everyone that they had accused. Then he left for a while which was just like Jesus leaving and going into the desert for 40 days and 40 nights. When Reverend Hale returned he talked to John Proctor and believed him. This was like Hale went from this person who believed so much that there was witches in the town to coming to his senses and believing in the facts. We can compare Reverend Hale to John Newton. Newton was a slave trader, who didn’t believe in God and was caught in a bad storm and called out to God for help and experienced what he was to refer to later as his “great deliverance”. After that he became believer and was baptized. So this man went form not believing to believing in god.
John Proctor the protagonist in The Crucible could be compared to Jesus. In the last Act Proctor was faced with an important decision. Danforth offered Proctor a chance to get out of being hung but refused because he didn’t want them to make a mockery of him. So he took his punishment of death. He could have gotten out of being killed but did not because he knew what he was doing was right. Jesus knew the night before that the guards were coming to capture him so he could be killed. Jesus could have run and have gotten away but he made peace with God and died on the cross for our sins.
When Abigail was accusing everyone in the town of being witches people were being hung without fair trials. This was like people in the early century being persecuted when they were completely innocent to begin with. In the end of the play people were started to realize that she was phony and she took off. The Crucible had a lot to due with people’s reputations than anything, which is a form of corruption, which we see a lot in these days. The Crucible contained many allusions that portrayed the bad characters in the play as religious figures. Being such as morally and religious based town he people who were innocent were seen as criminals through the eyes of the town because they believed in something that was truly evil.