Two plays by Arthur Miller, Death of a Salesman and The Crucible, both compete that society is the indifferent, in some cases harsh, force that squashes a person. Although the plays occur in different time periods, they each convey the force of society through setting and dispute. They especially reveal this theme through the development of masses or of opposing sides, just like the ladies and townsfolk of The Crucible and the company values in Death of a Salesman. Making use of scapegoats like Tituba and Willy even more develop the style. Finally, the sacrifices of Proctor and Willy show the pressure that society places on guys to be honorable. Society contributes a fantastic total up to the predicament of a lead character, and Miller represents this style through his characters and their interaction with one another.
The 2 plays exhibit the style of society’s power by showing a development of opposing sides, or opponents. For example, in The Crucible, the townspeople and the young girls take sides against the older women of the town. The Putnams are the primary adult culprits in the town. They fear what they do not understand, so they fear the supernatural connection in between witchcraft and the deaths of their newborn kids. Their position in society causes them to fear, so they oppose the sages of the group who do not have fear. Also, the kids form sides against the older women of the group, however for different factors. The children are completely limited in their actions, especially by the elderly, who represent their authorities. Thus, they respond by releasing their creativities on the older townspeople.
Likewise, Death of a Salesman is pestered with the formation of sides. This time, nevertheless, the conflict arises in between Willy and the ethics of the brand-new salesman. According to Richard J. Foster, “The worths that seem to be represented in Willy, the ‘good’ values that function in the play as implicit criticisms of society’s ‘bad’ worths, are the familiar romantic ones: nature, flexibility, and the body; free self-expression and self-realization; individualism and the easy life …” (Foster 3). Willy’s nostalgic, nearly quixotic principles contrast with those of society, Howard, and contemporary service. It is evident in Willy’s scene with Howard, in which he is fired, that the sides are clearly specified, and Willy’s morals are no longer valuable to the company. As Miller composes,
WILLY. In those days there was personality in it, Howard. There was respect, and comradeship, and thankfulness in it. Today, it’s all cut and dried, and there’s no chance of bringing friendship to bear– or character. You see what I imply? They don’t know me any longer.
HOWARD. That’s just the thing, Willy.
Therefore, the forces of society crush Willy as an individual by making whatever he has ever understood obsolete.
Moreover, both The Crucible and Death of a Salesperson portray the massive power of society through using scapegoats. The distinction, however, is that Death of a Salesperson has a single person as a scapegoat, whereas individuals of Salem blame an idea before individuals. The people of Salem blame witchcraft for all of their problems, whether Sarah Good and the death of a neighbor’s pig, or Rebecca Nurse and the Putnam children. Because the people fear what they do not comprehend, anything out of the ordinary is automatically supernatural in their eyes. Therefore, Tituba, the slave from Barbados, is blamed for her “conjuring” and is hanged, in addition to many others. The people of Salem blame their issues on the “witches”.
Scapegoats are used rather differently in Death of a Salesman. Biff blames his dad, Willy, for not leading him correctly and attempting to protect him from the real world. Willy’s overprotectiveness only postpones Biff’s coming of age, which takes place during his discovery of his father’s licentiousness with the anonymous woman. According to P.P. Sharma, “In the terrible experience in the hotel space, nevertheless, [Biff] accomplishes an insight. With the awareness that his dad is a scams comes his deliverance … By attempting to make a hero out of [Willy] Biff understands Willy was only obscuring his identity and to that level not exactly helping. He lays the blame directly on Willy for filling his mind with exaggerated self-conceit …” (Sharma 370). Hence, through the masses and their usage of scapegoats, society has the ruthless power to squash the person.
Lastly, the social pressure put on honor is strong enough to break a man, as revealed by John Proctor and Willy Loman. Using the meaning of disaster of Richard J. Foster, both men were terrible heroes, due to the fact that both were willing to provide their life up for their honor. John Proctor, the hero of The Crucible, is forced to compromise his honor by admitting to lechery in order to save his wife, who, ironically, lies to conserve him, ruining them both. His puritan beliefs hold honor to oneself in very reverence, and this triggers the his death. He picks death over the stain of the household name by not signing the file, as portrayed in the following lines:
PROCTOR. I have three kids- how may I teach them to walk like men worldwide, and I offered my good friends? … Seduce me not! I blacken all of them when this is nailed to the church the very day they hang for silence.
DANFORTH. Then describe to me, Mr. Proctor, why you will not let [enable me to post your confession] –
PROCTOR. … How may I live without my name? I have actually offered you my soul; leave me my name!
Thus, Proctor turns down the social pressure and does not give in. Willy, however, catches honor and conceals his cowardice behind suicide, which gives his household insurance money. He commits suicide, but by Foster’s definition, which specifies that the tragic hero should want to quit his life, he is still a tragic hero.
Therefore, the plays Death of a Salesperson and The Crucible, by Arthur Miller, each show the style of society as the indifferent, sometimes harsh, force that crushes a person through the development of sides, the project of scapegoats, and the value of honor. In each case the individuals were crushed, either physically or mentally. Society contributes a fantastic total up to the plight of a protagonist, and Miller represents this theme through his characters and their interaction with one another.