American Communist Party Essay
American Communist Party
The play ‘The Crucible’ was written by an American author named Arthur Miller in 1953. It is set in Salem Massachusetts 1692 and is about the Salem witch trails. Miller was in his twenties during the 1950’s. When there was an era of paranoia of communism. The government feared America becoming a communist nation and this is now known as time of McCarthyism, named after Senator Joseph McCarthy, who claimed the he had a list of 205 people in the State department that where known to be members of the American Communist Party.
McCarthy the HUAC and the FBI worked together and interrogated numerous people, particularly people in the entertainment industry Due to this modern day witch hunt many people lost their jobs pr they would name other people in order to save themselves. Miller was also questioned, but in 1956 the hysteria was dying down so he managed to escape punishment without naming others. This era is similar to what occurred in Salem during 1692. In Salem a small coastal settlement appeared after the arrival of the pilgrims (from England) in 1690. The people lived a very strict puritan lifestyle; this meant they followed the Christian rules rigorously.
The Salemites were ruled by a Theocracy, which was a form of government operated by the church. These people were highly superstitious and believed in the devil, which explains how the idea of witchcraft took hold so strongly in Salem. However witchcraft was not to blame, it was only used to settle disputes and revenge in the village. In the play Reverend Samuel Parris has disputes over his contract demonstrating the society was already divvied. His daughter, niece and their friends began a fortune telling circle with Parris’ Slave Tituba.
Their unstable behaviour quickly led to the conclusion that they were bewitched. In Salem any actions against God were taken seriously, the society felt the need to discover all the perpetrators of witchcraft and this led to a witch-hunt, which was overcome by mass hysteria. This hysteria became out of hand resulting in one hundred people being imprisoned and 19 people and 2 dogs being hung. In the play Reverend Parris fears his girls are bewitched. At the beginning of Act one he find the girls dancing in the forest and so summons. Parris is talking to Reverend Hale and expert in seeking out bewitched.
The extract from act one begins with Parris stating how He claims He saw a Kettle in the grass where Abigail and her friends were. ‘I think I ought to say that I-I saw a kettle in the grass where they were dancing’ this changes the tone of the conversation, as everything becomes more serious now with suggestions of witchcraft. Hale begins to interrogate Abigail. The audience see how Parris is unsure about whether to say this after catching this daughter and niece in the woods. He hesitates in his speech. , this is due to the fact that a kettle can be seen to represent a cauldron linking the girls to witchcraft.
The kettle can also represent the heat of the crucible, which is supposed to purify things. Which foreshadows events to come and the witch-hunts that will happen as a result of this. Abigail during her interrogation tries to explain her actions ‘She never drank it ‘ No sir! ‘ The exclamation mark demonstrates to the audience how desperate Abby is to save herself. During the interrogation the pace increases together with the tension ‘I never sold myself! I’m a good girl! I’m a proper girl! ‘ Here Miller uses the technique Stichomythia the audience see how desperate she is to be believed.
This is also dramatic irony, as the audience knows that she is not a proper girl as they have previously seen cursing Goody Proctor in the woods. In her desperation to save herself she actively accuses Tituba and tries to position the blame and responsibility on someone else. As the audience witnesses this they realise Abigail will go to any lengths to save herself and would be disliked greatly by the audience. Then Tituba enters. Immediately Abby visually accuses her as well as verbally accusing her. ‘She made me do it! She made Betty do it!
‘ At this point the audience are shocked that she can blame Tituba to her face, as she is supposed to be Tituba’s friend. The audience’s emotions are reflected by Tituba’s stage directions (, shocked, and angry) but Abigail claims that Tituba made her drink blood. Parris repeats blood and Mrs Putnam, who is obsessed with the loss of her babies questions ‘ My Babies blood? ‘ as she is trying to find someone to accuse for her babies deaths. The repetition of the word blood emphasises the evil nature of witchcraft and suddenly events become more serious. There is also repetition of the word devil ‘have you enlisted these children to the devil?
‘ Tituba claims ‘I don’t truck with no devil’ this represents the evil in witchcraft and highlights the seriousness of the situation to the audience, especially for Tituba who is now being accused with doing evil and as being under the devils influence. However this is ironic as the audience see how she is not being controlled by the devil but by Abigail, suggesting again that Abigail is very manipulative and clever ‘She sends her spirit on me in the church, she makes me laugh at prayer! ‘
She also accuses Tituba of making her drink blood every night. This is also ironic as it is Abigail who is manipulating Tituba and perhaps the audience may see playing the role as she manipulates Abigail twisting the situation so things become worse for Tituba but better for herself. Abigail chooses Tituba as her scapegoat because she has a low status, as a slave and that no one will listen to her as she tries to defend herself. Hale and Parris begin to interrogate Tituba more intensely and Tituba tries to defend herself but she is powerless, she is a black servant in the household, someone who has no voice. ‘ I have no power on this child sir! ‘ Hale and Parris don’t listen to her again reinforcing to the audience of Tituba’s low status.
Parris has more power over her and she knows this. It is this power they use to try and get her to confess. ‘… I will take you take you out and whip you to your death… ‘ This makes Tituba panic ‘No, no don’t hang Tituba’ and demonstrates how Tituba is at the mercy of Hale Tituba’s life is in his hands and she as well as the audience knows this. The language that Hale uses demonstrates to the audience that he is also manipulative. He tries to put words in Tituba’s mouth in order to make her confess so he can show that he is good at what he does. ‘When did you compact with the devil?
‘Then you saw him? ‘ This eventually breaks Tituba down ‘(terrified, falls to her knees)’ She begins to cry, seeing that a confession is the only way to save herself ‘I do believe somebody be witching these children’ Hale, satisfied that Tituba is beginning to confess, changes his tone. He begins to lead he in his questioning so she can give a full confession he continues to manipulate her ‘And you love God Tituba? ‘ Tituba responds ‘ I love God with all my being’ Tituba confesses but at first doesn’t want to name people so she says she saw a woman but claims it was too dark to see.
This emphasises to the audience that in comparison to Abigail she is a loyal and kind character’ It was black dark’ this metaphor of darkness represents the characters’ vision being obscured, which can also be the in ability to see the truth preparing the audience for the terror and hysteria to come. The pace of the conversation emphasizes the tension where Hale tries to get Tituba to confess. Tituba is coaxed into confessing and into naming others after Hale takes her hand. She is surprised because Hale appears to be treating her as and equal.
‘We will protect you’ and Tituba kisses Hale’s hand as if she is grasping for the chance to save herself and now she sees a way to do this. For this reason Hale becomes self-righteous believing he has the divine power to bring out wrong doers. ‘You are Gods instrument’ He tells Tituba that she can help bring out the devils pawns and so Tituba eventually gives names ‘there was Goody Good’ ‘And Goody Osburn’ the names suggested to her earlier by Mrs Putnam again emphasizing to the audience the farce and hysteria that will ensue . Mrs Putnam hearing this Is satisfied and sees a way of reeking revenge.
Hale who plays on Tituba’s love for Betty uses images of light and dark. ‘The Devils out and preying on her life like a beast’ (Satan) ‘upon the flesh of the pure lamb’ (Jesus) This is religious imagery used because it reinforces the subject and also represents the devil as something dire i. e. ‘beast’ telling the audience how awful the devil is, Jesus is represented as a pure lamb to sound innocent and untainted. ‘ABIGAIL rises, staring as though inspired’ realising this is how Abigail is described in the stage directions the audience realise how clever Abigail is, she sees that she can control others without any consequences.
The tension now is rising rapidly because the audience are unsure of what Abigail will do next. The stage directions read ‘(she is enraptured as though in a pearly light)’ as if to the other characters she has seen the light of God. ‘I want the light off God, I want the sweet love of Jesus’ the repetition of ‘I’ informs the audience that she is self-obsessed. And this is ominous. This outburst is caused because Abigail can see that Tituba is not only in the clear but she can also gain power from blaming others.
Abigail wants to be seen, as an instrument of God but the audience knows this is ironic as Abigail is only jealous of the attention that Tituba receives. Suddenly Betty awakes and start chanting like Abigail as if she is cleansed of her sins. Parris says a prayer but Betty is unaffected this time, which demonstrates to the audience that she was never bewitched but to the other characters it is a demonstration of how Betty is cleansed of the Devils spirit. ‘BETTY is rising from the bed, a fever in her eyes’ this creates a dramatic impact on the audience where the tension hits a climax.
This signals the beginning of the hysteria. It also foreshadows the dramatic things to. Abigail begins to take pleasure in making accusations ‘It is rising to a great glee’ Putnam says ‘The Marshall. I’ll call the Marshall’ and this prepares the audience for the next Act. The repetition of Devil informs the audience that the tension is climatic, increased by the Stichomythia. The curtain falls as the girls are still chanting names. This makes the audience wonder how many more people are going to be named. The end also leaves the audience in shock and suspense but prepares them for the hysteria about to sweep through Salem.