Arthur Miller’s The Crucible forces its audience to watch as a terrible power struggle becomes progressively more damaging to those involved. He saw this happening in his own life during the...

Arthur Miller’s The Crucible forces its audience to watch as a terrible power struggle becomes progressively more damaging to those involved.

He saw this happening in his own life during the McCarthy Era of the early 1950’s when men and women were accused as Communists and underwent a modern-day witch trial. Miller wrote The Crucible to explore this sensitive issue.

Speculate on several causes or effects of unproven accusation/labeling. Use The Crucible as your source of reference in you educated guess as to why people accuse others and what happens as a result of such behavior.

Expert Answers
Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The issue of moral response to injustice in times of crisis occupies a central place of importance in Miller's work.  It is much easier for individuals to cling to their notion of the good and "the right thing" when times are stable.  Yet, in the most dire and challenging of situations is when the ability to "do the right thing" is the most arduous.  This is seen in the actions of the Salem townspeople.  When the accusations begin to surface and the fear which accompanies them begin to pervade the town, the moral choice becomes clear:  Accept the nature of these conditions with silence and acquiescence or speak out and risk the greatest of losses.  Individuals like Giles Corey and John Proctor are ordinary individuals who acquire the greatest and yet most tragic of statures as a result of their willingness to speak out against injustice.  Similar to those who spoke out against the HUAC-driven Red Scare of the 1950s, the ability to act on one's freedom whenever needed, even at great cost to others, seem to be one of the most critical elements to Miller's work and his statement about how one asserts power in situations where power might be lacking.  Through this, Miller seems to be suggesting that individuals have voice and power in dire situations, so long as they are willing to use it.  The difficulty of these moments only prove their importance.

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The Crucible

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