Student: The Crucible and Authoritative Figure Essay

Submitted By phoenixfriend
Words: 1408
Pages: 6

Analyse how an idea is developed in a text (or texts) you have studied
In the play, the Crucible, written by Arthur Miller, an idea that was developed is the idea of the perils of conformity. Miller develops this through the type of society he has chosen to set his play, a theocracy, situations mentioned and shown that hold significance which take place in closed in, tension filled scenes such as courtrooms, and the character Mary Warren, who helps signify the perils of conformity in people and the human nature to want to conform. The idea developed is also important to Miller on a more in-depth level too, as during the time of writing this play, Miller was observing, and even experienced for himself, the consequences of conformity.
The idea of conformity is portrayed in a negative light very early in the play. In the first Act, Abigail enforces conformity among the young girls who were present with her in her supernatural dealings to curse Goody Proctor, telling them ‘I can make you wish you never saw the sun go down!’ in an act of self-preservation, and keep avoid the sole blame of witchcraft in Salem. Conformity is later displayed in Act one when in a hysterical suggestive interrogation by Hale, the young girls in a frenzy of the moment, conforming with their socially higher authoritative figure of the group Abigail, start yelling out names of people who they’ve ‘seen with the Devil’. This shows that in the heat of pressure, and surrounded by suggestion, a more authoritative figure and many people, individuals find it harder to not conform. This develops the idea that conformity occurs more often under pressure of higher authoritative figures, such as the intelligent and ‘specialist who’s unique knowledge has at last been publicly called for’ Hale, the highly authoritative holy figure reverend Parris, who’s authority stems from his attachment and preachings of god’s will. This moment also develops the idea that conformity can occur due to hysteria of the unknown and supernatural, as they automatically cry out witches when confronted with the reasons behind unknown bad luck and paranoia in Salem. The consequential perils of this conformity is the ‘near to four hundred … in the jails from Marblehead to Lynn’ which is a result of the uniform accusing and confessing of witchcraft rampant in the society in a somewhat mad fit of conformity in Salem.
Conformity under pressure and authoritative is also displayed in the courtrooms of Salem. Many accused witches ‘will not hang if [them’] if they confess’ and under the pressure and desire for self-preservation rather than valuing integrity and telling the truth, conform with the black and white ideals of high authoritative figure Deputy Governor Danforth and confess to witchcraft. Conformity is again enforced through the threat of hanging, and imprisonment of non-conformists who are hanged, and the written conformists’ proof of conformity are displayed on church doors in a form of propaganda, that conformity is a form of self-preservation, and to conform is to agree with the court and higher authoritative figures in the Salem society, and to some extent god, whom the people of Salem have grown to blindly conform to anyway.
Conformity plays a large part in the theocratic ways of the Salem Puritan society. Their society is one where they must follow god’s will, and to do so must follow the preachings of their priest, Reverend Parris. In such a society where people blindly conform with their societal leaders, can lead to the false accusations and unjust convictions of innocent people. This is displayed when Cheever arrests Elizabeth, knowing himself that it is wrong and unjust, but has complied with Danforth’s warrant due to his acceptance of blind conformity in his everyday life at the church listening to Parris’ preachings and following a higher authority’s will. This is shown when he says ‘The court bid me search your house, but I like not to search a house’. Herrick, who