Thursday, November 13, 2014

Conflict, Witchcraft, and Accusations

In the play, The Crucible, Arthur Miller portrays a strict Puritan settlement in which little emotion is evoked and things seem to be kept behind closed doors. Simplicity is caked over every situation and there is an overwhelming sense of blandness. There is a theocratic government where there is a combination of religious and state power ruling over the people.

Almost as important as religion, but also related, is a the settlement’s sense of community. Whether forced or a natural occurrence, the main function of the theocracy was to form a strong sense of unity, as well as to keep out anything that might ruin this solidarity. From this community, a social order is formed. In any social formation, exclusion is exercised. This provoke a deep fear within the people when during this formation of a uniform and oneness was interrupted by individuality.

This individuality caused a conflict between order and freedom, and a conflict on expressing sin, against the religion they lived by. The women of Salem seem to exercise witchcraft and charms genuinely, possibly as a display of repressed individuality in the wake of changing social order in a theocratic government. However, most of the accusations of witchcraft in the town seemed to have been used as a scapegoat for more real annoyances. Hatreds and things that aren’t religiously acceptable could be spoken under the blanket of witchcraft accusations. This opened the doors to a conflict between wanting to air out true feelings, but being morally unable to due to religious or social restrictions, and the event of witchcraft was a catalyst in the expression of these feelings.

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