Analyse the ways in which the themes of intimidation and persecution are presented in the crucible. In Arthur Miller’s play, he uses a lot of intimidation and persecution. Intimidation means that someone is made small, powerless and weak. Persecution is when someone is being hurt or picked on because of their race, religion, appearance, political views or if their different to everyone else. Intimidation and persecution link to the play as people were being accused of witchcraft and they felt powerless and hurt, as they were different in some way.
Take Tituba for example, she was made powerless and was whipped because of her race and her status. Miller presents the play as an allegory, which has an underlying meaning as well as a literal meaning. Firstly, the underlying meaning is the McCarthy trials towards the communists, and people lost their lives over a dishonest politician. Secondly, the literal meaning is the witch trials in Salem and people lost their lives all because of lies. They both link as people lost their lives over silly things.
The Historical context is about Salem and the witch trials; The Crucible took place in the 17th century in Salem. Girls felt ill in Massachusetts, no one could explain the illness so everyone thought it was the devil and witchcraft. There were many puritans who blamed the devil and often blamed people of devil worshiping if they took part in sinful activities such as dancing. Many people were accused of being a witch with no evidence; nineteen people and two dogs were convicted and hanged.
One man was crushed to death as he refused to admit he was a witch. To avoid being accused of being a witch they said that there neighbour. The girls felt better and the hysteria died down. The Literary context is about Miller and McCarthyism; McCarthyism is making accusations of disloyalty, of pro-communist activity, in many instances unsupported by proof or irrelevant evidence. Joseph McCarthy led America to become anti-communists, as communism was Russian. America was scared of Russia because of the cold war. McCarthy put many people on trial including Miller, he was accused of being a communist as he refused to answer questions.
These link to the three scenes I have chosen as they show the history, such as the girls were ill, witchcraft, devils and deaths. Miller also links the literary context to the three scenes I have chosen, such as McCarthyism and trials. Firstly I have chosen Act 1. Miller presents intimidation from the beginning of the scene, “I- do believe there was some movement-in the soup.” This shows Parris is being intimidated as the stage directions in front said fearful; you can tell he is fearful as the quotation has hyphens, which indicates a shocked pause. Abigail’s cousin, Betty, is in bed felling ill. Hale is desperate to know if the devil is involved.
Abigail blames Tituba, “I never call him! Tituba, Tituba…” Abigail is persecuting Tituba as she has a lower status then her. There is an ellipsis at the end of the quotation; this shows that there is a pause. Abigail and Hale spoke about what happened in the forest. Abigail lies “I never sold myself! I’m a good girl! I’m proper girl!” Miller shows Abigail is getting angry because there are explanation marks at the end of each sentence. It is dramatic irony, the audience know that Abigail had an affaire with John but the characters don’t. Tituba then enters the room; Abigail then blames Tituba again, “She makes me drink blood! …She makes me laugh at prayer!” Miller shows Abigail persecuting Tituba as she treats her unfairly because of her race and status, she also uses Tituba to cover up her story.
Hale now thinks that Tituba has sent her spirit upon Betty. Tituba disagrees, “I love me Betty!” Tituba is getting angry; it also shows Tituba getting annoyed because there’s an explanation mark in the quotation. Tituba’s pronouns are mixed up because she’s from the Caribbean. Parris wants Tituba to confess, “You will confess yourself or I will take you out and whip you to your death, Tituba!” This shows Parris was persecuting Tituba as he was going to hurt her. You can tell he was shouting, as there’s an explanation mark at the end of the quote. Tituba loses her power “terrified falls to her knees” Tituba’s scared she doesn’t want to get hurt so she falls on her knees with no power and confesses, this is intimidation as she feels small and is literarily small, she wants someone to comfort her like her childhood.
Tituba lies to save her life. Hale is trying to get answers out of Tituba, “Who came to you with the devil? Two? Three? Four? How many?” Hale is asking short questions to find out about the devil, before the quote stage directions said kindly this shows Hale wasn’t trying to scare Tituba. Tituba is getting all the attention and Abigail is jealous “I want to open myself … I want the light of God” Abigail has changed her mind as earlier Abigail said she never called the devil. Then Betty wakes and started shouting names that she supposedly saw with the devil. The curtain falls with hysteria.