In Arthur Miller’s playwright, The Crucible, the reader is exposed to different examples of what could be considered a dystopian society. A dystopia is a society characterized by human misery and unhappiness. The characteristics of a dystopian society inThe Crucibleinclude religious control and this playwright contains a dystopian protagonist.
Throughout The Crucible, the townspeople in Salem, Massachusetts are living in a theocratic government. A theocratic government is a government subject to religious authority. In Miller’s playwright the court is often affiliated with the church, therefore the characters can be prosecuted if they are thought to be associated with the Devil. Reverend John Hale believes that “ the Devil is precise” and that “ the marks of his presence are definite as stone.” This statement shows the paranoia of the townspeople and how they thought any wrong doing or any unanswered act was the work of the Devil.
The Crucible shares characterization tropes with the dystopia genre such as a dystopian protagonist. John Proctor is a classic Arthur Miller hero, a man who struggles with the incompatibility of his actions with his self-image. He is a member of the Salem society who constantly feels trapped by the sin he has committed. Proctor also believes that the church of Salem is corrupt in the way they trial someone to committing witchcraft. When Reverend Hale comes to question Proctor, Proctor tells him that the accusations are complete nonsense and Hale fires back by stating that all the people he has questioned have confessed to witchcraft.
Proctor then questions Reverend Hale by asking “ why not, if they must hang for denyin’ it? There are them that will swear to anything before they’ll hang; have you never thought of that?” Reverend Hale gives Proctor his assurance that he has thought of that before but he has a hard time believing that someone would lie in the name of God. Throughout the story John Proctor does his best to bring the truth upfront in the court of Salem, however, in the end he is not believed.
Moreover, The Crucible isn’t considered to be a dystopia. The play does share some characteristics of a dystopia but it does not fit the requirement of taking place in the future. The way Arthur Miller frames 1692 Salem, Massachusetts as a dystopia is by showing the reader that the townspeople are living under a theocratic government where the only answer to questionable events is witchcraft. Not only can religious oppression and ” naming names” lead to a dystopia-likeenvironmentin this play, but the fact that the citizens live in fear of being persecuted also leads to a dystopian society. For this is the true point of The Crucible; to show the reader of the dystopian characteristics this play comprises of and that not only the future can be interpreted as a dystopia but that the people of the past, and even the present, can be living in a dystopian society.