3 Answers | Add Yours
In assessing theme, there is a great deal of room within which to navigate. One theme that is present in the work is the idea that there can be a great deal of perversion of what might be seen as pure and noble. Religion and zealous expression is challenged in "The Crucible" and in the same way, Miller does the same to the American Dream in his play, "Death of a Salesman." The idea of examining the conditions in which something that is seen as potentially one way could actually be another is brought out in both plays. On one hand, the notion that religion is pure, above reproach and question, is seen in Salem, while Willy's pursuit of the American Dream is evoked to make very clear the idea that elements seen in one light by society can actually be twisted to be seen in another light. Organized religion is given "the treatment" in one drama while the pursuit of the American Dream is seen in the same light in another. The theme in both is that something which is perceived as noble and worthy of pursuit can be manipulated into something oppressive and its opposite by individuals who are not in control of their own subjectivity.
These two referenced works above are most commonly related. I would just add that the one-word themes you might reference would be guilt, deception, lies, and impossible virtues.
Another piece, as it seems you are looking for more than one, would be Jonathan Edwards' sermon Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God. Obviously by the title you can sense the Puritan theme of sin. This might be a good comparative work if you need to note literary differences because he presents the theme in an entirely different genre as opposed to character interaction. It will also be a quicker read than The Scarlet Letter, and it is likely in your 11th grade literature book. Edwards uses simile, personification and metaphor in addition to the persuasive appeal of fear to ensure his audience is convicted of their own guilt.
Check it out! You can find the whole sermon online by going to google and searching by title and author.
There are several themes in The Crucible, which means there are many stories which could be similar in theme. One idea which Arthur Miller develops is that of intolerance for sin, among other things. A good comparison piece, then, is The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Both are set in the Puritan world, and both delineate the consequences of intolerance in all forms.
Another theme is developed in the character of John Proctor, a man tormented with inner conflict--a good man who sinned;a man who wants to tell the truth but knows the consequence will be death; a man who loves his wife but had a casual affair; a prisoner who can save his life but lose his soul by signing his name to a lie; and more. Another work in which the main character suffers inner turmoil is, of course, The Scarlet Letter. Arthur Dimmesdale is tormented with inner conflict--a good man who sinned; a man of God who sinned against God; a father who must not claim his child, or her mother; a man of truth who is living a lie; a man who is revered by others but reviles himself; and more.
Choose a different theme and you'll certainly find even more works for comparison.
We’ve answered 319,857 questions. We can answer yours, too.Ask a question