Discuss how beyond anything else, The Crucible is a study in how power is sustained, challenged, and lost.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Certainly, the role of power occupies a centrally important role to the drama.  I am not sure if this is "beyond anything else" because this, in its own wording, is wide open and subject to analysis.  I do believe that the study of power is vital to the work.  The emergence of power as a construct to advance one's own personal agenda becomes evident in the actions of Abigail and the girls, Parris, and then Hathorne and Danforth.  This becomes part of the narrative in terms of how each of these figures seek to consolidate their power, "doubling down" as it were to increase their control over life in Salem.  Interestingly enough, Miller makes the argument that each of these individuals suffer from a disintegration of this power control as their legitimacy begins to wane.  In this, the implication is that when governments and ruling organizations fail to receive the stamp of credibility and authenticity from their people, change is inevitable.  When the citizens of Andover begin to rebel, it is the signal of change that ends up coming to Salem, as the town dissents from the actions of the court.  Parris' death threats, the lack of zeal in the executions, as well as Abigail's disappearance and presumed departure all indicate that governments that fail to hold the authenticity of the people end up suffering a process of disempowering and almost a political castration.  In this, Miller seems to be making the argument that while individuals must be vigilant of their authority structures, their collective actions can also force the authority structures to be vigilant of their own voice.  This helps to bring out a level of redemption to a circumstance that might be otherwise rather bleak in its assessment of individuals and their relationship to power structures.

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The Crucible

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