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April 29, 2012 / Man in the Mirror

The Crucible (Arthur Miler)

I decided to post some excerpts from the play. The Salem witch trials is a classic example of how a society can turn on each other, based on individual motivations, under the guise of good and evil of religion.

Page 16: 

…social disorder in any age breeds such mystical suspicions, and when, as in Salem, wonders are brought forth from below the social surface, it is too much to expect people to hold back very long from laying on the victims with all the force of their frustrations.

The Salem tragedy, which is about to begin in these pages, developed from a paradox. It is a paradox in whose grip we still live, and there is no prospect yet that we will discover its resolution. Simply, it was this: for good purposes, even high purposes, the people of Salem developed a theocracy, a combine of state and religious power whose function was to keep the community together, and to prevent any kind of disunity that might open it to destruction by material or ideological enemies. It was forged for a necessary purpose and accomplished that purpose. But all organization is and must be grounded on the idea of exclusion and prohibition, just as two objects cannot occupy the same space. Evidently the time came in New England when the repressions of order were heavier than seemed warranted by the dangers against which the order was organized. The witch-hunt was a perverse manifestation of the panic which set in among all classes when the balance began to turn toward greater individual freedom.

Page 17:

Long-held hatreds of neighbors could now be openly expressed, and vengeance taken, despite the Bible’s charitable injunctions. Land-lust which had been expressed before by constant bickering over boundaries and deeds, could now be elevated to the arena of morality; one could cry witch against one’s neighbor and feel perfectly justified in the bargain. Old scores could be settled on a plane of heavenly combat between Lucifer and the Lord; suspicions and the envy of the miserable toward the happy could and did burst out in the general revenge.

Page 27:

…the steady manner he displays does not spring from an untroubled soul. He is a sinner, a sinner not only against the moral fashion of the time, but against his own vision of decent conduct. These people had no ritual for the washing away of sins. It is another trait we inherited from them, and it has helped to discipline us as well as to breed hypocrisy among us.

Page 74:

PROCTOR [grasping her by the throat as though he would strangle her]: Make you peace with it! Hell and Heaven grapple on our backs, and all our old pretence is ripped away – make your peace! [He throws her to the floor, where she sobs, ‘I cannot, I cannot…’ And now, half to himself, staring, and turning to the open door] Peace. It is a providence, and no great change; we are only what we always were, but naked now. [He walks as though toward a great horror, facing the open sky.] Aye, naked! And the wind, God’s icy wind, will blow!

And she is over and over again sobbing, ‘I cannot, I cannot, I cannot’, as



One Comment

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  1. Sebrina Claughton / May 17 2012 5:41 pm

    Very nice site, thanks “cigar aficionado forum

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