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The Crucible by Arthur Miller and the Salem Witch Trials - Essay Example

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Exploring the actuality of events in The Crucible with reference to Salem Witch Trials Subject/topic Course Date Comparing the actuality of events in The Crucible with reference to Salem Witch Trials Early modern period in the world’s history can be termed as the most decisive era because of the influential impacts this specific tenure laid on the subsequent political and social scenarios and reformations…
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The Crucible by Arthur Miller and the Salem Witch Trials
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The Crucible by Arthur Miller and the Salem Witch Trials

Download file to see previous pages... The play was written in 1953 and presented a dramatized version of the events to such an extent that experts do not certify it as an authentic work on the trials that shook the theocratic society. This paper is an attempt to explore the differences and similarities shared by the real-life Salem witch trials and the literary version of that incident The Crucible. The paper will also advocate that the repressive environment of early modern period was the main cause behind such an event. Salem Witch Trials- A brief Overview: Salem Witch Trials are often regarded as the most high-profile case of mass hysteria in history. From 13th century onwards, religion and moral values took an obsessive form specifically in New England and the concept of evil also became deeply embedded, which was symbolized by witches who supposedly possessed demonic powers and pleased the devil by hurting innocent beings1. Gradually every abnormal behavior was associated with witchcraft. In the fall of 1692 two young girls, from the same household in Salem Village, Betty Parris (aged 9) and Abigail Williams (aged 11) started having strange fits and displayed behaviors that were “impossibly human” and beyond the understanding of doctors and ministers2. They crawled and hid under the furniture, felt that they were being poked or pricked, shouted and threw things on others, and twisted themselves into odd positions. Within no time many a lot of females including Ann Putnam Jr. and Elizabeth Hubbard started displaying similar signs and this generated chaos all over Salem. The girls accused Tituba, Sarah Good and Sarah Osborne for casting spells on them and slowly every afflicted individual nominated and accused someone for witchcraft paving the way for a witch-hunt spree and the Salem Witch Trials. The trials were held against hundreds of Salem village residents and nineteen residents (mostly females) were hanged at Gallows Hill whereas one person named Giles Corey was stoned to death, and probably dozens languished in prisons without undergoing any trial.3 Historical Inaccuracies in The Crucible: Arthur Miller’s historical accuracy regarding the events and facts of these trials has been a topic of great debate lately. It is, indeed, true that Miller did fictionalize certain facts to suit the needs and demands of a literary play. However, it cannot be termed as an out-and-out inaccurate depiction of the proceedings of Salem Witch trials. As Miller himself explained in the preface of his text “this play is not history in the sense in which the word is used by the academic historian. However, I believe that the reader will discover here the essential nature of one of the strangest and most awful chapters in human history”4. If the actual facts are to be considered, then Miller’s version shares some phenomenal contradictions. For instance, in The Crucible, the writer invented a ritual of wild dance in the forest followed by recitation of charms for depicting the activities that were mistaken as witch-craft. 5 This probably was done to ensure maximum interest and engrossment from the audience. However, in reality, Tituba was accused for telling stories from Heinrich Kramer’s 1687 publication Malleus Maleficarum, which contained concepts like Voodoo, fortune ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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