Arthur Miller’s play “The Crucible” and Andrew Niccol’s film “Gattaca” both present the idea that suffering can lead to growth through their main characters John Proctor (Crucible) and Vincent Freeman (Gattaca) and their very unique experiences . The authors then explore who their characters share the burden of their ordeals with and how they assist in turning their suffering into growth. Despite the fact John and Vincent live in two completely different worlds over three centenaries apart they both experience the same struggle against society and are both considered failures in their communities but grow by overcoming their inadequacies.
Miller uses John who is a man who holds a great belief in holding and maintaining a respectable title within the community to show how his suffering can lead to growth. John suffers through his own actions when his affair with young woman, Abigail Williams, sets in motion a series of events that eventually ends with him being accused of witchcraft. John is given two choices, either lie and offer a public confession to witchcraft and be saved from the gallows or tell the truth and refuse to confess.
Initially John signs his confession but not willing to allow to whole town to think he is a witch, ruining the reputation he has worked so hard to earn. He passionately tears the confession in two and when asked why he exclaims “Because it is my name! Because I cannot have another in my life! … I have given you my soul, leave me my name! ” Miller uses this tearing of the confession to signify the moment in which John’s suffering turns into growth as he rallies the courage to stand up to the court and retain his good name.
Unlike John, Vincent is born with his inferior genetic makeup and suffers from birth as he “…belonged to a new underclass, no longer determined by social status or the colour of your skin. ” The underclass Vincent is referring to is a group of people who are known as the ‘In-valids’ who posses an unaltered genetic code and are seen as inferior by those known as the ‘Valids’, people who are genetically engineered to be almost perfect. Niccol uses Vincent’s life of discrimination and his seemingly meaningless existence to show how he suffers in a society obsessed with perfection.
It is this prejudice and injustice that drives Vincent to overcome his inadequacies by taking on the identity of a ‘Valid’ and begin a new life living his dream of working at Gattaca. Niccol shows the audience Vincent’s growth is complete when he finally boards the rocket destined for Titan as he has succeeded in fooling society and has proven an ‘In-valid’ is just as capable as a genetically engineered ‘Valid’. Both Miller and Niccol use their main protagonists to show how their unique types of suffering can eventually lead to growth.
For both John and Vincent overcoming their inadequacies is no easy task and they are both aided by one other individual who is there to support them and help share their ordeals. Even though he was unfaithful to her, John’s wife Elizabeth Proctor is constantly there for him throughout his trail. Elizabeth is also accused of witchcraft but her execution is delayed because she is pregnant. By delaying her execution, Miller has allowed Elizabeth to support her husband and inspire him to choose the path of righteousness and truth.
When Reverend Hale pleads with Elizabeth to convince John to confess she instead replies, “He has his goodness now. God forbid I take it from him! ” Miller has uses Elizabeth’s quotation to show that John has grown enough to finally regain his goodness. Elizabeth doesn’t try to convince John to confess because she knows if he remains truthful at least he can die an honest man who is finally at peace with himself and by doing so has helped him in overcome his suffering.
Just like John, Vincent also has someone who helps him overcome his suffering and that person is Eugene Morrow. Vincent assumes Eugene’s former identity of Jerome Morrow and Eugenes aids him in by providing him with everything he needs to fool the world into thinking he really is Jerome. Eugene also stops Vincent from abandoning the whole scheme when they find Vincent’s eyebrow at the scene of the director’s death. Eugene shares all Vincent’s hard times and always rallies behind him and gives him the motivation to chase after his dream until he eventually achieves it.
Niccol uses Eugene’s support to show how important a partner is when it comes to turning suffering into growth. John and Vincent both have someone there to support them to help them through their suffering and ultimately to grow as individuals. Arthur Miller and Andrew Niccol have both used their protagonists and their captivating journeys to clearly express their shared idea that it is possible for suffering to lead to growth especially when the target is aided by someone close to them who is willing to share their burden. 838 Words