The Crucible Questions and Answers
by Arthur Miller

The Crucible book cover
Start Your Free Trial

Assess how Miller's message in The Crucible is assisted through motif. 

Expert Answers info

Ashley Kannan eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2009

write16,848 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

I tend to think that one of the motifs that help to bring out the thematic message of Miller's work is the consistent presence of deception.  Deception and mendacity on both individual and socio- political levels is a motif in the work.  Miller is able to make clear that the accusations of witchcraft are lies themselves, but their motivating factors are also based on deception.  Abigail covets John, and thus lying is what she uses to get him.  The girls wish to avoid punishment and thus lying is what they use to accomplish their goals.  Hathorne and Danforth want power and thus lying is what can be embraced in order to substantiate their own position.  Parris and Putnam want power, themselves, and status.  Lying is how they achieve it.  In this, one sees how lying and mendacity become motifs throughout the drama.  Proctor himself suggests this at the end of the drama when he says that he himself "signs himself to lies."  It is an affirmation about how deception and mendacity have been motifs throughout the play and Proctor rests in the idea that his death will be a victory for truth, one in which deception and lies are finally finished off in one way or another.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial