The Crucible Tone Paper In Arthur Miller’s book/play The Crucible, the tone he adopts towards the subject of witch trials and witch hunts, and towards the characters that maintain them, is carefully written. His ironic and cynical tones throughout the play poke fun at the religious officials doing what they thought was right, executing people they thought were witches. They also further the outlook on the lack of justice in a harsh, Puritan society. Miller continually uses irony in situations that led up to final accusations of witchcraft.
In the events leading up to Elizabeth’s conviction, she receives a poppet from Mary Warren with a needle in its stomach. When he found this, Cheever exclaims “I never warranted to see such proof of Hell…” This is ironic in the way that he was involved in the trials of convicting witches, and witches are proof of the Devil, and therefore, proof of Hell. Another example of irony is in Act II when John Proctor hands Danforth a testament that people had signed declaring Rebecca Nurse, Martha Corey, and Elizabeth, good women.
Proctor said “…sir—they’ve known the women many years and never saw no sign they had dealings with the devil. ” This testament was supposed to help the women get out of jail. It ultimately failed. A great example of irony is when Elizabeth Proctor lies about the affair that she knows that Abigail and John Proctor have. Judge Danforth asks her “Is your husband a lecher? ” Elizabeth answers “No, sir. ” This shows that Elizabeth did not want to confess about the affair. She was confused of what to say at times because she kept turning to John for what to say.
I believe that this example is ironic mainly because it was said earlier in the book that Elizabeth had never told a lie, until now when she does lie about her John’s affair with Abigail. What is also ironic is the reason that this event happened. The judges needed somebody to tell them something about Proctor that they did not know while Proctor was on trial. When Danforth tells Parris to go get Elizabeth, he asks John if she is of trust. John tells Danforth that Elizabeth had never told a lie, that she couldn’t tell a lie.
I think that this is ironic because he said that Elizabeth could not tell a lie, and to his surprise, she did tell a lie, for him. The portrayals of Puritanism in The Crucible suggest attributes of stubbornness and their beliefs. An example of this is that the society of Salem likes to choose false religious values over logical assumptions. This is ironic because rather than listen to logic in their minds, they listen to the religious propaganda being shoved down their throats by Reverend Hale and Reverend Parris.
These men are considered to be holy, and because they were holy, they were basically immune from being accused of witchcraft, as opposed to everyone else in Salem. For example, Reverend Hale states that “The man’s ordained; therefore the light of God is in him. ” Hale is referring to Reverend Parris, who in his eyes, was allowed to be overlooked as a victim of witchcraft because of his position in the religious society. He is said to be holy, but he is really lacking in his religious responsibilities by refusing to comfort the town when there was a commotion about the witchcraft.
This is ironic because if everyone else can be accused of witchcraft, then they should be too. Everyone means everyone. Everyone doesn’t mean everyone minus a few select people. If we wanted to discuss Miller’s attitude towards the Salem Witch Trials, we could look to his words and see where his words express the ironic tone. His ironic tone throughout the book is constant. This irony proves to be what made it such a great book. Without the ironic under- and over-tones, you could hardly infer what he was really trying to say.
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