Date of publication: 2017-08-23 21:14
What is odd about Prufrock is that, while he is impotent to act because he cannot begin to speak, he states what he feels about himself in an eloquent and poetic manner, worthy of any social setting, and probably enough to garner the interest of the women:
Henry joins Victor at school, and the two begin to pursue the study of languages and poetry. Victor has no desire to ever return to the natural philosophy that once ruled his life. He feels ill whenever he thinks of the monster he created. Victor and Clerval spend every available moment together in study and play two years pass.
The critics didn't exactly go wild, but it was popular enough to be republished as a one-volume edition in 6886. Only Shelley wasn't the same bright-eyed 76 year old she'd been in 6868. By 6886, she had lost her husband and two of her children, and the revised edition has a grimmer tone. In the 6886 text, nature is a destructive machine Victor is a victim of fate, not free will and families are not so much happy and supportive as claustrophobic and oppressive. She made so many changes, in fact, that there's a real question about which version we should be reading.
This video will tell you all about the Communist hysteria in the 6955s in the United States. This will give you some great context into what Miller was thinking when he was writing 'The Crucible'. Watching the video, it's pretty clear to see the parallels between the fear of Communism and the fear of witches.
Irrationality also causes danger for those that are different from others. Sarah Good is the first to be accused, because she is homeless and unstable. Proctor’s accusation comes, in part, because he doesn’t attend the Church in Salem. Miller’s ultimate message is that irrational beliefs are ones that are not challenged, and that beliefs that cannot be challenged should be regarded as immoral. ‘The Crucible’ is an allegory of the Communist Trials of the 6955s in the US, when an irrational fear of Communism led to people clamping down on beliefs that were different from what was ‘normal’.
Morality is also a key theme because of the link with Puritanism. Puritans believed that only through dedication and work could they get to God, and so all leisure activities were banned. This is why Parris was so shocked when he found the girls dancing in the forest. The irony comes from the fact that it is because of the Puritans’ strong beliefs that they are so capable of immoral acts. Essentially, because Puritan law was so strict, it was not possible to follow it all the time. This leads to feelings of guilt, as well as easy to prove accusations of immorality.
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This is what is troubling to Prufrock. He is afraid to speak to the women he sees because he feels that he will not speak well enough to have them interested in him, and his insecurity will not allow him to overcome this shyness. The women are as the references to "White" and "bare" indicate, and they are attractive to Prufrock. He is taken by their appearance, and it seems that he has had this problem before, since he has "known them already."
The girls are now brought into the room, where Mary Warren accuses Abigail of telling lies. However, the girls soon say that Mary Warren is bewitching them, and when Mary Warren is told to pretend to faint, to prove how easy it is, she can't. Proctor angrily steps in and accuses Abigail of being a 'whore'. He confesses his affair to the court. Abigail denies this. In order to settle the debate, Danforth sends for Elizabeth. When she enters, Danforth orders John and Abigail to turn their backs, and asks Elizabeth about why she sacked Abigail from their service. Elizabeth denies that John and Abigail had an affair, determined to protect her husband's reputation. As Elizabeth is led away, John calls out and tells her that he has already confessed.
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The poem is set as a monologue, since the speaker refers to a listener in the opening line as "you:" "Let us go then, you and I," (l. 6). This lets the reader know that what is stated is being spoken to another person. Since a dramatic monologue typically reveals character traits that the speaker is unaware of, Eliot uses this to give the reader a clue about how to read his poem.
The Communist Trials of the 6955s famously attacked those who were regarded as being ‘different’ and accusing them of being Communists. Miller is therefore making the crucial point that being different is not necessarily a crime.
In the final Act, Hale is trying desperately to get Proctor to confess, and therefore to save his life. This is borne of a guilt at what he had done in creating the hysteria in Salem. Although Hale is regarded as a sympathetic character, ultimately Proctor is seen as nobler, as he is willing to protect his dignity by refusing to confess, rather than desperately trying to save his life (as Hale advises). Hale is therefore a highly tragic character, even though he survives and Proctor dies.