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Identify what statement Miller was seeking to make in how specific characters are...

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babiluvsyu | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 28, 2012 at 4:40 AM via web

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Identify what statement Miller was seeking to make in how specific characters are significant in their symbolism of larger groups of people.

Discuss at least 4 characters: Parris, Tituba, Abigail, John Proctor, Rebecca Nurse, Giles Corey, Martha Corey, Hale, and Elizabeth Proctor.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 28, 2012 at 9:41 AM (Answer #1)

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I think that Miller is deliberate in constructing characters that represent larger groups of people.  It helps to make his work timeless and applicable in different contexts.  For example, Abigail has to represent the force of individuals who seek to control, individuals who covet something at all costs and are willing to do anything and manipulate anyone in the process.  Reverend Parris represents the individual in the position of power who is willing to "use a cause" in order to consolidate their own power.  He is that force that does not authentically believe in a particular cause, but understands its political expedience.  Reverend Hale represents those individuals who faithfullly serve a cause, only to realize that they have been used and abused in the process.  Reverend Hale's tragic condition is that he realizes too late that he has become a pawn in the drama, and must atone for his actions as a part of it.  Corey can certainly come to represent the shrill voice of dissent, one that speaks on louder and with more resonance after it has left.  Miller gives Corey the significance of being able to speak loudly even after his death.  In each of these settings, the character represents something more.  Miller recognizes that these individuals and these roles are vital in the development of any public hysteria or public setting where truth and justice are put aside for personal gain. 

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