Miller challenges the old literary stereotypes of women being portrayed as angels or devils by giving them more complex personas.His purpose for this is not just a criticism of stereotypes but a way of enlightening the audience.The narrator’s comments at the beginning of Act 1 are critical of 17th century beliefs of where evil originates in society and the way that the villagers live.
However, ‘The Crucible’ can be perceived as an allegory for many other events in history such as the cultural revolution during Chairman Mao’s reign of China that crippled the country and took it back many decades economically.
Miller intends to show that all that evil requires to flourish in any society is an abundance of power placed in the hands of a few.
Originally Parris is seen as a good character: he is a reverend, traditionally seen as a good person.
He is discovered “kneeling beside the bed, evidently in prayer.
At the time of the play being written, The Cold War had the western world shaking with fear.
Evil exists in all societies but it could never exist without goodness to juxtapose and compare it to.In truth the potential for evil is unavoidable and exists in the hearts of all men.Miller’s play was written originally as an allegory for the Mc Carthyism that swathed 1950s Americans in fear.The film ‘dumbs down’ Abigail and Elizabeth by simplifying their characters and increasing the Good/Evil contrast therefore enforcing the old stereotypes.The film adds pathos to Elizabeth’s situation so that the audience feels sadness and pity.This view applies for the majority of contemporary audiences.If we look deeper into the play it is obvious that Miller has other purposes rather than just the creation of an exciting play.” The audience’s perceptions of the reverend as a good man change when the narrator says “In history he cut a villainous path, and there is very little good to be said for him”.The audience now have an idea of the truth behind the characters actions in the play.The real evil is to be found in the hypocrisy of Parris, the injustice of Danforth and the manipulation of Abigail. Hale’s ignorance subsides as he realises the truth behind what is happening in Salem and the character’s hidden agendas.However, the power placed in Danforth’s hands serves only to increase his insolence, encourage his unfair logic and blind him further to the real witches in Salem. He takes theocracy and autocracy to extremes and his severe misinterpretation of the bible leads to the deaths of many innocent people.