American Lit. / Rhet., Per. 2
12 December 2008
Miller’s Fire of The Crucible
In many well-written literary works, authors relay their messages to their audience through rhetoric strategies, and some of the best rhetoric can be found in Arthur Miller’s 1952 play, The Crucible. Miller uses imagery of fire to convey many different messages throughout the play, and in doing so, he increases its effect on the audience. He often uses fire to represent feelings or the state of a character, such as love, guilt, devastation, sin, and chaos. The Crucible’s fire imagery is used to illustrate the aspects of life’s trials or the sinful nature of man, or to express the paramount importance of truth.
Arthur Miller uses the affair that occurred between John Proctor and Abigail Williams to demonstrate the consequences of concealing the truth. In Act I, Abby confronts John about their relationship; she says: “I have a sense for heat, John, and yours…” (Miller 1.23). Because John submitted to his lust for Abby, he is now burdened with her love for him and his life and destiny are forever intertwined with hers. As we see Proctor evolve as a character, he is constantly faced with the consequences of his affair, but because he cannot forgive himself for such a poor choice, he denies the fact that it ever happened so that he can live with himself without truly dealing with the problem. He is repeatedly convicted of his sin, and he feels that he deserves to be punished for his unfaithfulness. In Act I, Proctor attacks reverend Parris for his constant questioning of the town people’s faith: “Can you speak one minute without we land in Hell again?” (1.30). he continues, however, to say: “I am sick of Hell!” (1.30). Because Proctor is so often convicted of his affair by his own conscience, he is condemning himself to Hell because he will not forgive himself. His cold marriage is a constant reminder of his sin, and because he cannot do anything to...