Date of Award

4-28-2010

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

English

Abstract

The Crucible, by Arthur Miller, explores several complex and trans-historic topics, many of which relate to the playwright's experiences during the McCarthy era. Miller asks his audience to value independent and personal truths, which he defines as more morally right and good than social truths. This is because, in the playwright's mind, social truths are often manipulated and exploited to gain a desired personal result regardless of how they affect other's lives. In order to illuminate this point, he repeatedly plays with the concepts of truth and lies, confession and accusation, as well as public and private knowledge. Although Miller represents each as opposites, they are not necessarily contradictory, nor are they fixed absolutes. I will argue that truth cannot be an absolute concept and that the society and its individual members must somehow reconcile the fact that they are linked, one with the other. Communal and individual definitions of concepts such as truth and lies, good and bad, public and private, and controversial acts, such as confession and accusation, are not necessarily binary opposites. To classify them as such is to underestimate the role that they play in The Crucible.

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