My response to GCSE English Literature Crucible exam question - URGENT!Watch
Q: How does Miller present ideas about witch-hunts in 'The Crucible'?
A: In the Crucible, Miller writes of a direct parable to the events and actions of ex-american senator Joseph Mcarthy and the state in 1950's America. The 'house of un-american activities committee' was established in late 1938, and with the leadership of Mcarthy, persecuted and discriminated all communists in America. This is what Miller uses as he saw these events as a type of 'political witch-hunt'; and therefore translates their meaning to his scene of 1600's Salem.
During the Salem witch trials in Massacheusettes in the 1600's, innocent people were betrayed, convicted and punished for their 'sins' that they did not commit due to the hysteria and madness that swept the town. In 'The Crucible', Miller presents attitudes towards the witch hunts in a way that people can use them and the 'fear-factor' they caused, in order to betray, lie and persecute people with whom they'd had disputes or disagreements. In particular, Thomas Putnam was a character who was very clearly doing this. Thomas Putnam likes to take sides with those he feels will win a dispute and he's also someone who can be quite agressive and outspoken when it comes to proving an innocent persons imaginary guilt. Miller displays Putnam in a way that his attitude toward the witch hunts are to use them to his advantage - "He confessed it now" and just like in Act One when the girls begin to 'confess', Thomas is so excited by all the fake drama and realness of the witch trials he shrieks "Call the marshal, I'll call him!"; as if he's taking pleasure in their hysteric cries.
Miller also presents ideas about the witch trials through other characters such as Reverend Hale and John Proctor. Hale begins the play just like everyone else, with a closed mindset on the actual legitimacy of the witchcraft claims in Salem. In Act One he asks the men: "Do you men have afflicted children?" and later he refers to the "precision of the devil". This shows how to begin with, even the most trustworthy and intelligent of characters seem to be deluded by the idea of witchcraft. One character who is certainly not deluded in their views on the witch trials is that of John Proctor. Due to Proctors previous encounters and dealings with Abigail, he understands and senses her wickedness and knows that the rumors she is spreading are completely untrue. "They're pretending!" shrieks Proctor in Act 3, he goes on to say - "I have known her, sir!". This indicates that he knows exactly what Abigail is playing at and therefore this shows us how Miller decided to include some characters that were not fooled by the trickery in Salem.
This is only half the essay, but am I along the right lines? What is needed? More quotes? More development? Language analysis?