The Crucible Questions and Answers
by Arthur Miller

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Is there a specific quote or scene in The Crucible that illustrates the impact of conformity on the village? I am trying to write about how the conformity of the theocracy prevented people from thinking independently or gaining self-awareness.

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David Morrison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In The Crucible Arthur Miller presents us with a terrifying vision of mass conformity. He doesn't in any way seek to condone that vision, but he does try to help us understand it and why it happens. Here are the stage notes from Act I:

"The Salem tragedy… developed from a paradox… Simply, it was this: for good purposes, even high purposes, the people of Salem developed a theocracy, a combine of state and religious power whose function was to keep the community together, and to prevent any kind of disunity that might open it to destruction by material or ideological enemies."

Miller is acknowledging that the desire for conformity can be perfectly legitimate. Societies need to have some degree of coherence, something that holds them together. A society simply cannot function properly without some semblance of conformity to common values. Otherwise it will fall apart. That said, it's the dangerous, destructive aspect of conformity which is highlighted throughout the play. And Miller...

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mrs-campbell eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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