Is The Crucible a social drama?

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

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I think that Miller's work can be seen as a social drama because it reveals the way human beings behave when they are in a group.  The play makes specific statements about how we act as a society.  One way it does this is through Salem's hysteria over witches.  Miller is able to demonstrate how a society is prone to emotional contagion over sensitive issues.  In Salem, the sensitive issue was witchcraft.  Salem society loses all sense of reason as a result of its fear.  When the fear of witches takes hold of Salem, people accuse one another without evidence or any logical reasoning.  In The Crucible, the social drama element is seen in how societies function when gripped by fear.

The depiction of how individuals manipulate societies for their own benefit is another example of how The Crucible  is a social drama.  Miller does not miss the chance to speak about how charismatic individuals can seize social control and manipulate a society for their own benefit.  People such as Abigail, Parris, Putnam, and Danforth seek to mold society in order to benefit themselves.  This benefit can be economic, political, spiritual, or simply social acceptance.  However, the drama shows how societies can be putty in the hands of charismatic and charming people.  In depicting how individuals can manipulate a given social order, the work operates as a social drama.  

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