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Setting Often Provides Clues as the Context of the Play. How Effective Are the Descriptions of the Settings in the Crucible in Presenting the Salem Community?

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Essay Preview: Setting Often Provides Clues as the Context of the Play. How Effective Are the Descriptions of the Settings in the Crucible in Presenting the Salem Community?

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The play The Crucible by Arthur Miller is a story of the Salem witch trials that took place in Salem, Massachusetts during 1692-93, however, also subtly refers to the 'communist witch hunts' in the USA in the 1950s. The play is essentially about the persecution of individuals, on false or trumped up charges, by the authoritarian arm of society, thus it can be assumed that the audience of the play is meant to be adults that were involved in politics and social issues current at the time of publication. The variety of different settings in the play including the forest, in which Abigail, Mary Warren, Susanna Walcott and Tituba were caught doing witchcraft, Reverend Parris’ home in Salem Village, Proctors’ “parlor”, the courtroom and the cell in Salem jail, all provide clues as the what is going on in the play and are in a sense foreshadowing what is going to happen. Additionally, precise description of the different settings allow the audience to gain insight on the Salem Community.

The play begins being set in Reverend Parris’ home, where already from the start the framework of the typical puritan home is established. In this setting the audience sees the “good” people of Salem praying over Betty, who was bewitched after what has happened in forest. This is a clear indication of what the Salem Community is like, as it is clear to the audience that religion and god are seen as the solution when something is wrong. The description of Reverend Parris’ home is very simplistic: “a candle still burns…roof rafters are exposed, and the wood colors are raw and unmellowed”. This shows that the typical home in the salem community is very non-modern and basic, meaning they have more to care about than appearance. The prime focus for the people in Salem is God and worshipping, going to the weekly ceremonies and obeying god. With this in focus, it is clear that the community in Salem is not very developed, but rather raw and basic, as they do not know of any other way of life. With the setting of Parris’ home being described as simplistic, the audience receives the clue that the community in Salem is not very developed, thus most also be contained in their thoughts. Additionally, the setting acts as a bases of context, as by describing the typical puritan home, the audience is aware that the play is taking place in the far past, thus explaining the behavior of the characters.

However, into act two, the audience realizes that not all homes in Salem are purely puritan. The home of John and Elizabeth Proctor, serve as a contrast to that of Parris’. In Proctors’ home, Elizabeth and him practice their faith in a much more personal way, thus also a much more puritanical way. In Salem practicing faith is done to show the community how religious you are, therefore with Proctor and Elizabeth, practicing their faith rather in private than in Church, it becomes clear that Proctor and Elizabeth are different than the typical Salem Residents. Not only is this clear from their behavior, but also the description

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