Katherine Davies November 2007
To Explore the Role of Mary Warren in Creating Dramatic Tension
The Crucible was written in 1953 by Arthur miller and is based on the Salem witch trials of 1692. The play was written during a time of great tension in the U.S.A due to the actions of the senator Joseph McCarthy against communism. The McCarthy hearings dominated America in the 1950’s and many people who were thought to be involved with communism were interviewed and forced to give names of others, some were imprisoned and their names black-listed. Many of those accused were prominent members of the community, including Arthur Miller himself. The play is an allegory for the McCarythite “witch hunts” of that time. There is an atmosphere of evil and fear that permeates the play, making a specific comparison to the fear and hatred of communism at the time it was written. Aspects of the play reflect the emotions of the time and explore the way people behave under such pressure and hysteria and how they deal with fear and issues of conscience.
The play revolves around a group of young girls living in the repressed Puritan society that is Salem. It became a town in 1629 but disease, remoteness and clashes with the native American tribes made life very difficult Puritans was the name given to the more extreme Protestants within the Church of England who thought the English Reformation had not gone far enough in reforming the doctrines and structure of the church. In addition to believing in the absolute sovereignty of God, the total depravity of man, and the complete dependence of human beings on divine grace for salvation, they stressed the importance of personal religious experience. In the sixteenth and seventeenth century there were many witch trials in Europe and so it’s not surprising that this should happen in a small community on the edge of civilization where a belief in fundamental Christianity was heavily enforced.
The accusations of witch...