What are the main characters' thematic functions in the play?

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

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I think that the main characters' function in a manner to give some insight into the thematic development of the drama.  Miller is able to use specific characters to advance the themes that he is trying to develop.  For example, the theme of political manipulation is something that is represented by Abigail and how she is able to turn political manipulation into her own benefit.  John Proctor represents how political apathy and unwillingness to enter the political arena only emboldens those in the position of political power.  Giles Corey represents the voice of dissent, while Parris represents how those in the position of political power can seize specific moments and opportunities to increase their own visibility.  The main characters in the drama are used to represent the ideas within the themes that Miller wants to present.  Their function and their characterization help to explain the themes and advance them as the drama develops.  It is here where I think that Miller understands that characters in drama and literature can advance the themes of a work very well when they comes to embody those specific themes.

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