Salem as a dynamic of belonging examining the emergence of each individual as social puppets – Proctor – Parris – Harthorne, Danforth and Hale. Individualism versus Socialism.
The lack of understanding in the Crucible between the public church and individual who are persecuted formulate a dichotomy of suffering that relates to its inability to find belonging with its own system.
As an allegorical parody of the McCarthy era persecution of the cold war, the play clearly elicits the inconsolable connection between the private and the public where a powerful social hierarchy dominates lesser individuals. Danforth states; “A person is either with this court or must be courted, there is no road between” His imperative tone suggestive of the power wielded by those who belong. The same can be seen in the personification of the bible stated by Harthorne “While I speak God’s Law, I will not crack its voice with whimpering.” Both characters embody a merciless and unrelenting draconian belonging that condemns individuals such as Proctor and Giles. The irony of this theocratic justice can be seen in the line “Justice… so weighty cannot be argued by a farmer… send him home and let him come again with a lawyer…” by Hale who suggests that those existing outside the system shall seek no solace within its laws. In juxtaposition, the actions taken by Proctor are a desperate attempt at preserving individuality – a means to find closure and belonging through personal faith and empowerment. The motif for this form of belonging resides in the concept of the ‘good name.’ “A man will not cast away his good name…” The importance of the name motif is revealed when Proctor is forced to give up his ‘good name’ in service of the Puritan agenda. “It is my name! I cannot have another in my life… leave me my name!” The emphasis of his words lie in the symbolism of the name as a spiritual individuality that is destroyed should Proctor betray his personal ethics. He cries “You will not use me, it is not part of salvation that you should use me!” reflecting both the hypocrisy of the Puritan church as well as the rank abuse of family, religion and cultural belonging by ruthless theocrat masters. Take away a man’s spiritual and cultural center, and he is lesser for it.
It is evident in the text that individual such as Proctor and Giles cannot redeem understanding from their theocratic masters whose conformity to rules and laws blind them to the needs of the individual.
Belonging is a familial construct, whose significance formulates the personal identities of individuals within a social framework. For the Crucible Proctor characterizes a visionary whose vision lost, dies for his pursuit of personal faith and individual identity. He claims ‘God sees my name; God know how black my sins are’, formulating an ironic juxtaposition against the power of his Church, whose membership seem to insist “Hang them high over the town, who weeps for these, weeps for corruption.” By resisting the conformity of his puritan peers and adhering to his own ideals, Proctor becomes an outcast. The paradox of Proctor’s dynamic of belonging to his community lies in that it both empowers him and makes him helpless. He displaces his personal faith within the community ‘I speak my own sins…” Yet martyrs himself for what his own ethical sense of righteousness ‘I cannot judge another. I have no tongue for it’ As Proctor’s influence within the community is continuously diminished; but his personal adherence to ethics, principles and faith are solidified in his character. When questioned by those who abuse their positions as just and faithful, he responds, “Let you not mistake your duty as I mistook my own…” The verbal irony creating a clear distinction that Proctor has drawn the line between the public and the private – He is fully aware that characters such as Danforth and Harthorne have imposed their own rigid theocratic systems upon the public sphere of the community, and the true spirit of their individual freedom has been quashed by the egomania of the McCarthy era witch hunt.
Relationships as an exemplar of belonging shown through dynamic of character building. Proctor – Abi (Girls) – Liz (Unfinished)
“It is a weighty name… it will strike the village that proctor profess.” – parries
“Let you beware Mr Danforth. Think you be so mighty that the power of hell may not turn your wits?”
“No other family has called for your service…” “There be no blush about my name… my name is good in the village!”
“Abby will charge lechery on you… she’ll ruin you with it…” “I cannot tell, they will turn on me…”
“Let either of you breath a word… and I will bring a pointy reckoning that will shudder you…”
‘God sees my name; God know how black my sins are’,