The Crucible Themes

Monty Kirk
Mind Map by , created over 5 years ago

Mind Map on The Crucible Themes, created by Monty Kirk on 05/19/2014.

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Monty Kirk
Created by Monty Kirk over 5 years ago
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The Crucible Themes
1 Religion: The lynchpin of Salem, society. One of the reasons why the accusations of witchcraft are so easily spread, believed and feared
2 Integrity: People standing up for their beliefs is an integral part of the play. It ends with Proctor giving his life in order to stay true to himself and his children. Miller suggests that integrity is difficult to necessary
3 Fear: People of Salem are superstitious and fearful, and it is their fear of the unknown which leads to many accusations. Miller shows how the irrational fear of witches leads to destruction
4 Prejudice: People like Sarah Good, Proctor, Giles Corey are non-conformists who differ from the majority are so are targets for accusations (as are the old and homeless). Miller shows that prejudice is the universal evil of society
5 Loyalty: Seen most in the Proctors. Although John betrayed her in one sense with his affair with Abigail, and Elizabeth kept a 'cold house', in the legal proceedings their loyalty is unchallengeable. Proctor calls her 'my dear good wife; and then admits adultery (tarnishes his name to save his wife). However, in Salem the loyalty becomes a destructive force which destroys the Proctors (e.g. when Elizabeth lies about John's relationship with Abigail)
6 Reputation: Hugely important in theocratic Salem. The focus on maintaining public pressure is key in the play with fears that their names will be tainted through association and so the characters' actions are to preserve their names. Parris fears that Abigails' questionable actions and Betty being in a coma will tarnish his reputation and force him from his pulpit. Early in the play he has the opportunity to testify against Abigail but chooses not to for this reason. Proctor also (see integrity), he would sooner die than tarnish his name 'I have given you my soul; leave my name'
7 Hysteria: Idea that actions of one person can influence the majority if explored in the crying out scenes. Hysteria can supplant logic and those in Salem use it to express repressed sentiments and act on long-held grudges (Abigail v Elizabeth)
8 Betrayal: Salem society riddled with betrayal, neighbours betray each other for exterior motives (e.g. Abigail v Proctors, Tituba)
9 Conflict: Major theme with battles between villagers over land as important as indivduals v law (e.g. Giles v Putnam, Abigail v Elizabeth, Putnam v Francis Nurse). Parris in particular strengthens his position using those who question his authority as a scapegoat (e.g. Proctor)
10 Greed and ambition: Factions in Salem and a struggle for power, Putnam joins sides with Parris (despite having no respect for him) in an attempt to gain power. Putnam also buys up his neighbours' land after they are arrested / executed
11 Empowerment: The witch trials empower characters who were previously marginalised in Salem society. In general, women work as servants until they marry at which point they are controlled by the husband. As the Putnam's greatest fear is the defiance of God, the girls' claims dominate the court and their word becomes virtually unassailable. Tituba, whose status is the very lowest being black, deflected the blame by accusing others
12 Danger of Ideology: Since religious men ran the government, the Puritans considered all actions to be good or even 'sanctioned by heaven'. Therefore any attempt to even question the court is seen as an attempt to overthrow God. Danforth and Hathorne believe they are emissaries of God, while Abigail uses their narrow-minded approach to her advantage
13 Individual v Society

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