Someone once said that Puritans did not leave Europe because they persecuted everyone there. How do you suppose Miller would respond to that statement?

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

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I would suggest that the stage directions that help to open Act I, Scene I could prove to be very helpful.  When Miller diagnoses the historical condition of the Puritans and why the witch hunts seemed to be intrinsic to their culture, I think that there is much with which to use as reference to the comment.  Miller seems to believe that part of the reason why the Puritan community served as home to the witch trials was because their own ancestors were marginalized and persecuted.  Miller argues that the reason for them leaving England was to escape persecution.  Interestingly enough, Miller argues that this cycle of abuse ended up feeding their desire to leave, land in America, and start persecuting others such as the Native Americans or others who were "different."  It is here where the "predilection for minding other people's business" and the notion of the "candle that would light the world" ended up becoming tools that they used to oppress others and control that which lay outside of their socially accepted norms.  It is here where Miller makes one of his strongest arguments that the victims of persecution and cruelty can often become the very agents of repression and brutality down the dialectal path.  It is here where I think that Miller, with the use of his stage directions to open the play, would disagree with the statement.

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