The Crucible, a play by Arthur Miller, shows how intolerance can corrupt a theocratic society. In The Crucible, this is achieved by a combination of three chief contributors. The paradox mentioned in his introduction to Act I, was and is entirely true in regard to the conflicting nature of the theocratic system and the human condition. First and foremost, conformity and forced control destroy the sense of trust between villagers. Secondly, intolerant attitudes ruin all creative thought and new ideas, which could have possibly freed Salem from its twisted thinking.
Finally the Puritans created the same form of oppressive government they ran away from England during the 1620s. In a theocracy, governing persons are overly empowered because they are supposedly ordained of God. This makes it hard for truth to stand because there is no tolerance for second notions. In a theocratic state, authority is especially distrusted because there is no way of proving direction from a higher power. Arthur Miller illustrates this concept in The Crucible when Salem’s citizens are suspicious of new authority figures such as Parris and Judge Danforth.
In Miller’s play, his characters rely on faith rather then reason. This is largely in part to fear of authority, which is bred by theocracy. Soon hysteria ensues and distrust follows. Only the most courageous people even begin to see through the confusion and poor decisions the town confines itself to. These include John Proctor, Elizabeth, and Rebecca Nurse. Puritanism is so strict and single minded that there is no room for diversity, which can bring about progress and acceptance in society.Miller reinforces this idea when Judge Danforth’s declares, “A person is either with this court or he must be counted against it, there be no road in between.
” During Salem’s witch trials, the general public felt they were powerless and kept to themselves. One could argue theocracy actually encourages wrongdoing. In a society with outrageous consequences, bad behavior is regularly kept secret. Miller exemplifies this theory by creating a veiled affair between Abigail and John Proctor. Fear and cowardice are the key fraudulent traits in The Crucible.Curiously, Puritans fled England to escape discrimination and pursue separatism.
However, the entire pilgrimage became hypocrisy. In America, Puritans continued the bloodline tradition by harassing each other. They preached freedom of conscience but valued uniformity more. Miller makes this evident in the character Abigail.
She dreads the outcomes of her choices so much she forgets the core of Puritanical theology. She cries “I come to God! ” but openly breaks commandments. By making moral and state law the same, theocracy spells out annihilation.Literally, the Puritans failure to survive proves this. Conclusively, The Crucible shows how vicious intolerance can be. Arthur Miller brilliantly demonstrates how it destroys trust, creativity, and ultimately kills humanity allegorically to capture the current events of the McCarthy era.
His play outlines the progression of an eradicated society. It interestingly forewarns all. Optimistically put, Miller informs that acceptance can go a long way. It can even save civilization from destroying itself.