What are the main themes in "The Crucible" by Arthur Miller?

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To begin with the obvious, much of 'The Crucible' revolves around the idea of secrets and lies - after all, it is Abigail Williams' lie to the town, and John Proctors lie to his wife which arguably leads to the tragedy in Salem. Every conversation in 'The Crucible' is laced with references to these hidden meanings and secrets rife in Salem. Think about your favourite parts of the work (if you have any, that is!) - what's going on below the surface? Are the characters telling the truth? If not, why not?

You could also think about how the play explores themes of individuality. Is there a reason why the story is set in a town of Puritans? What about the importance of John Millers name, or the loss of identity in mass hysteria? Read through the first act with this in mind, you'll be surprised how much you find.

And finally, think about the world in which the author lived - if you haven't already, look up "The McCarthy Witch Hunts" in particular. In what ways could you draw parallels between the 17th Century Arthur Miller imagined, and the 20th century he inhabited?

Jacob C. A Level English tutor, GCSE Maths tutor, A Level Classical C...

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