The Crucible Themes
The Crucible is set in a theocratic society, in which the church and the state are one, and the religion is a strict, austere form of Protestantism known as Puritanism. In Salem, everything and everyone belongs to either God or the devil; dissent is not merely unlawful, it is associated with satanic activity. This dichotomy functions as the underlying logic behind the witch trials.
Another critical theme in The Crucible is the role that hysteria can play in tearing apart a community. Hysteria supplants logic and enables people to believe that their neighbors, whom they have always considered upstanding people, are committing absurd and unbelievable crimes—communing with the devil, killing babies, and so on.
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In The Crucible, the townsfolk accept and become active in the hysterical climate not only out of genuine religious piety but also because it gives them a chance to express repressed sentiments and to act on long-held grudges.
The most obvious case is Abigail, who uses the situation to accuse Elizabeth Proctor of witchcraft and have her sent to jail.
But others thrive on the hysteria as well: Reverend Parris strengthens his position within the village, albeit temporarily, by making scapegoats of people like Proctor who question his authority. In the end, hysteria can thrive only because people benefit from it.
It suspends the rules of daily life and allows the acting out of every dark desire and hateful urge under the cover of righteousness. Reputation is tremendously important in theocratic Salem, where public and private moralities are one and the same.
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In an environment where reputation plays such an important role, the fear of guilt by association becomes particularly pernicious. Focused on maintaining public reputation, the townsfolk of Salem must fear that the sins of their friends and associates will taint their names. Various characters base their actions on the desire to protect their respective reputations.
Meanwhile, the protagonist, John Proctor, also seeks to keep his good name from being tarnished. By refusing to relinquish his name, he redeems himself for his earlier failure and dies with integrity.
MEN & WOMEN
In The Crucible, the idea of goodness is a major theme. Almost every character is concerned with the concept of goodness, because their religion teaches them that the most important thing in life is how they will be judged by God after they die.
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They want to be found good, because being good will make them right with God. The characters want to be seen as good by the whole village.
From the opening of the play, when the Rev. Other characters, such as Mary Warren, confess, because being seen as good is more important to them than telling the truth.
We see the struggle in the Rev. Hale, Elizabeth Proctor, and John Proctor,. By the end of the play, he has examined his conscience and realized that if he wants to be at peace with himself, he has to encourage the prisoners to falsely confess.
Elizabeth is also convinced of herself as a good woman, but by the end of the play, she has reconsidered her treatment of her husband after he confessed to an affair, and realizes that she was unforgiving.
John struggles the most with goodness: it takes signing a false confession, then ripping it up, for him to recognize that the only way he can be good is by being honest and true to himself. Another major theme in The Crucible is that of judgment, especially seen in the characters of Danforth and Rev. In the third act of the play, Deputy Governor Danforth sits in judgment over the accused and imprisoned residents of Salem. Danforth is unable to change his mind, even when all evidence and logic points him towards concluding he is incorrect.
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Danforth mistakenly believes that a reliable judge never reconsiders his stance. Hale, on the other hand, Hale learns the foolishness of sitting in judgment over his fellow humans.
Danforth has not learned the danger of judging others, while Hale has. Artboard Created with Sketch. Main ideas Themes.
Page 1 Page 2. Themes are the fundamental and often universal ideas explored in a literary work. Intolerance The Crucible is set in a theocratic society, in which the church and the state are one, and the religion is a strict, austere form of Protestantism known as Puritanism.
Hysteria Another critical theme in The Crucible is the role that hysteria can play in tearing apart a community. Reputation Reputation is tremendously important in theocratic Salem, where public and private moralities are one and the same. Goodness In The Crucible, the idea of goodness is a major theme.
Judgment Another major theme in The Crucible is that of judgment, especially seen in the characters of Danforth and Rev. Next page Themes page 2.
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Questions Can You Answer Correctly? The Crucible: Popular pages. Take a Study Break.