The Crucible

An example of how Miller tries to create a temporal setting to make the assemblage feel they are in the 17th century is evident because a candle is used as a source of light, which is extremely rare in our modern society. The audience are given a major indication that Miller is attempting to make them feel in the 17th century when he introduces a slave. : ‘The door opens, and his Negro slave enters. Tituba is in her forties. Parris brought her with him from Barbados … ‘ (Act One p6)

Slaves are no longer in abundance in America, after it was outlawed by Abraham Lincoln, and there are very few slaves worldwide today, implying that this play is based on 17th century American society. ‘The Crucible’ portrays a vast contrast between modern day living and the fortunes of people in previous centuries. The theme of the play would appeal to the audience as they may be confounded to learn how people lived in the 17th century when electricity was not being circulated, there was no public transport and people were executed by being hanged (which is no longer the form of execution in the USA).

The audience may be drawn to wonder how and why people were castigated and persecuted over the subject of witchcraft, how they were punished if found guilty of such a crime, and how laws and punishments had changed in courts from the 17th century to the 21st century. The characters in ‘The Crucible’ speak with a dialect that reflects the society they come from, in this case a theocracy, where their system is based on religion. This is clearly evident in their dialogue.

The tone -is serious and tragic, and the language is almost Biblical: Proctor: A man may think God sleeps, but God sees everything, I know it now… And well she might, for I thought of her softly. God help me… Elizabeth: I never knew the lying lessons I was taught by all these Christian women and their covenanted men! And now you bid me tear the light out of my eyes? I will not, I cannot! You loved me, John Proctor, and whatever sin it is, you love me yet!

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