The Crucible - Comparative Study
The similarities between Salem, Massachusetts in the spring of 1692 and the apartheid era in South Africa are endless. The characters of the play and the people of South Africa make certain decisions which may or may not ultimately defy their lives. They are forced to either stick with their personal morals or go against them. The decisions that are made by the citizens and the characters of The Crucible, led to the beginning of the end of apartheid and theocracy respectively.
Reverend Parris, a figure of authority in the Salem community dictates to the town that if they do not live their lives according to the church then they must undoubtedly be questioned as to what their intentions are. He also says that "There will be obedience or the church will burn like Hell is burning!" Act 1, Scene 2, Pg 24. In this quote, Parris threatens the community and reinforces his totalitarian motives. He further threatens the community by stating “A person is either with this court or he must be counted against it, there be no road between.” Act 3, Scene 1, pg. 76. This is very similar to the way in which the government acted during the decline of apartheid in the late 1980’s. The government gave the citizens ultimatums, in the end resulting in members of the general public being detained. There were accusations that parties were trying to “undermine and replace government institutions with alternative structures”. (Text 1) The people of South Africa became very much aware of the fact of the government realising that apartheid was clearly no longer working. This enabled the youth to start rebelling against the police and the governmental laws. In The Crucible, the community notices Reverend Parris’s unstable power and he becomes aware of this. He then calls on the support of other pastors to assist him in his dilemma. This leaves the town to speculate further on his religious reliability.
The Salem witch hunt didn’t stand ground for anybody....