Through the dramatic play, the Crucible, Arthur Miller presents the audience with many themes. Some examples being the impact of hysteria, conformity versus the freedom of individuality, and the wrongful use of authority. These themes are all eternal issues, which continually re-occur in society throughout time, and therefore can be seen as "universal messages". This essay will discuss these messages, and how Arthur Miller evokes the "full force of theatre" to communicate them. .
The setting of the play is an important "force of theatre". Miller's use of stagecraft plays a major role in expressing the tension, and distraught emotion throughout the drama. The setting of each act is spare and sombre, yet effectively portrays the Puritan lifestyle and contributes to the anxiety of the plot.
Act One is set in a small upstairs bedroom, in the home of Reverend Parris. Like the room, the only window is small and barred, symbolising no escape from the future events, and adding to the over crowded, claustrophobic feeling, of a room filled with hysterical characters accusing each other of witchcraft. .
In the lifeless atmosphere of the Salem Gaol, Act Four commences. "The place is in darkness .", and the character of Sarah Good is described as " . a bundle of rags ." (page 107). Through this callous setting, Miller shows the despair and lack of hope that dominates this act. The ". bundle of rags." symbolising the loss of any human dignity, and Sarah Good symbolising a scapegoat, suffering from the injustices of authority figures abusing their powers.
One of Millers universal messages in the Crucible, is the impact of hysteria. Through the court proceedings, and the character of Abigail Williams, Miller clearly shows that hysteria has the power to block out reason and logical thinking.