The Crucible Essay: What Did Miller Show In His Paper?


the crucible essay

The witch hunt was one of the tasks of medieval inquisition. Faith in witchcraft happened in minds of clergy in that time. However, did witch things exist? Maybe, people faced with mass cases of hysteria. Paper of Arthur Miller, which had name “The Crucible” took as a basis famous court process on witches. In Crucible essay we will know, what event became as a plot of this paper and which social themes writer revealed. Are you looking for qualitative essay? You are on the right way. Services of our site are just created for this purpose. We will write your perfect essay.

Salem Witches Or Not?

More than one hundred thousands of visitors annually visit American town, Salem, which is situated in Massachusetts. Strange attractions dangle tourists here. These attractions are presented by Hill of Scaffold that presently consists of residential areas, which are, according to legend, inhabited by the ghosts of executed people, Witch House, Salem Cellar of witches and Witch Museum. It is hard to imagine that this town in middle ages was the place of mass murders.

Representatives of religious movement, which got name puritanism, founded Salem in 1629. According to 1641, English laws provided any signs of witchcraft as criminal business. In January 1642, Indians attacked the city-neighbor York. As a result, many citizens were killed or captured. Big size of family was typical for that time. Therefore, farming was the main source of livelihood for the people. It had no surprise that fertile land on the border of settlers became as a source of conflict between neighbors and families. Any harm to the earth in the form of bad weather or diseases of plant could leave family hungry. If previously farm allowed feeding average family of that time then it seemed more and more impossible with every new generation. Farmers tried to expand their holdings, which usually resulted in a skirmish with Indians. The Crucible essay will help us to understand the premises of scandal witch hunt. Our custom writing service will help you in it.

 The Puritans were too religious. They thought that if God was angry on them, then they would suffer the consequences of his anger in the form of loss of crops or livestock. Even earthquakes and bad weather could be signs of divine disfavor. They believed that human soul would be in hell or heaven anyway. People found out in world all possible signs, which would show the will of God. God, angels, and Devil were situated in such world, which human eye could not see. Patriarchal order, which was present in puritan society, meant full domination of men over the women. Wives had to listen their husbands. It was considered, that women were easily suggestible. Therefore, Devil could gain control over women without problem because of that.

What do we have in the result? Salem process is obviously the basis, main core of Arthur Miller’s paper. History knows many examples of witch hunt but Salem process was the loudest scandal in 1690s. We can obviously consider 1692 year as the beginning of bloody and discriminate massacre. All began from the sudden disease of 9 years old daughter and 11 years old niece of local pastor. Elizabeth Parris and Abigail Williams began acting themselves strangely. They hid in the dark places, suffered from pain. Father of small Elizabeth Parris was a local pastor. He called a doctor in order to help girls. However, it was impossible to find medicine for this disease. Therefore, doctor stated that it was nothing more than witchcraft. Girls told that woman-slave of Afro-American origin Tituba was a witch. After various examinations, Tituba recognized that she was guilty in acting of witchcraft. She also said the names of other witches, whose names were Sara Good and Sara Osborne. Three woman were severely exanimated and put into arrest. We know the result of this massacre:

  • about 19 people ended their life on the scaffold;
  • 1 person was beaten with heavy stones;
  • 150 people were put into arrest and some of them died in the prison.

What really happened then in Salem? As it was said earlier, the residents of Salem were puritans, which were extremely religious. Any disease or death of someone was considered as machinations of Devil. Woman was easily suggestible and could be as helper of Devil. Therefore, in one of The Crucible essays we can make conclusion, that all Salem process was a greatest example of mass hysteria and human cruelty. People were ready to say lie about their neighbors just because of personal animosity. Another theory says us that girls were ill of special form of encephalitis. Its symptoms were similar with symptoms, described in Salem’s case. Another example was in fact that girls were ill of Huntington’s disease.

An interesting fact that Arthur Miller dedicated this paper to the existing in that time regime of McCarthyism. The symptoms had the same effect as during the Salem process. However, witches were replaced by communism. Now, let us examine the paper of writer.

Main Themes of “The Crucible”

Many essays on The Crucible mainly contain information about the main characters of this play. By the way, you can find more information about main villain of this play in essay about Abigail Williams. Nevertheless, this essay will answer the questions about the main themes, which Arthur Miller showed in his play. There are main themes in the play:

  • intolerance;
  • hysteria;
  • reputation.

The action of the play took part in historical Salem. Residents of Salem were people with religious behavior. There was no way to express own opinion, as the Church was the head of the state. People of Salem confessed puritanism. They stridently considered that people could obey only to God or to Devil. Human can have “clean” mind and continue their way to Heaven or has “dirty” business and stay in Hell. Any dissent considered as heresy and satanic activity. All was obeyed to moral laws, which were linked with laws of state. Tests of witches show us   as elementary principle of human intolerance.

The significant theme of the play is hysteria. Hysteria in this play allows people to suspect even innocent neighbors in doing of witchcraft. Hysteria turns off the definition of logic for people. Many people in the play are accused of witchcraft only because of personal dislike. For Example, Abigail Williams accuses the wife of John Proctor in witchcraft, because she loves John Proctor and wants to destroy her competitor. Hysteria exists only because it gains benefits for any person.

The last theme is human reputation. Each of us do not want to tell about his personal secrets to the society. In one of Crucible essays, we talk about theocratic society. If secret contradicts to the rules of society, you will be punished. The great example is main hero John Proctor. He is afraid to tell about his affair with Abigail Williams because it is terrible under the laws of theocratic society, especially because he has wife. Finally, he says truth. It does not save him, but he dies with courage.

In the end, let us look, when the play was written. It was written in 1953 during McCarthyism. We can suggest, that playwright linked Salem process and McCarthyism with the help of mass hysteria. The conclusion is in that the theme of hysteria prevails under the other in play.


Salem process became the basis for the play of Arthur Miller’s play “The Crucible”. There are only theories what happened in 1692 in small town, but maybe we faced with an example of mass hysteria. In his paper, Arthur Miller showed main human limitations as main themes of his play. Paper was published in 1953. Therefore, its main aim was to ridicule existing regime of McCarthyism.