Discuss the role of Biblical allusions in The Crucible.

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

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Miller does an excellent job in bringing out the Bible in the lives of the Salem townspeople.  The Bible, the good book, is what drives the town into a sense of madness.  The belief that the Bible forbids the practice of witchcraft and gives sanction to the idea of finding and targeting people suspected of witches is the basic element of the drama.  On more personal levels, I think that the Bible plays an important role in the life of John Proctor, himself.  It ends up hurting him that he carries himself in an spiritual way that does not embrace the institution of the church, represented by Parris, and that Proctor has not had one of his children baptized.  It is in this light that Hale questions both Elizabeth and John in their knowledge of the Ten Commandments from the Bible, of which John forgets the commandment about adultery.  Finally, I think that the use of the Bible is seen when Abigail pretends to see a vision in the courtroom, a vision that seems to hearken the calls of the Bible’s sign of the devil or, at least, of a vision from dark forces.  When Abigail calls out “Heavenly father” at this sight, it is a moment where she seems to be calling out from a knowledge of a script that helps to bring to light that the Bible, as a source of truth and understanding, has been manipulated by Abigail and others in the position of power to advance their own agenda.  Thus, the allusions to the Bible are meant to bring out the nature of hypocrisy that runs amok in Salem.

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