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Belonging; The Crucible And 12 Angry Men

1248 words - 5 pages

Q: How has your understanding of ‘Belonging’ been shaped by the set text ‘The Crucible’ and one text of your own choosing?
The term ‘belonging’ can be defined as a feeling of personal attachment to a time, place, person or group of persons. The importance of feeling connected, at peace with oneself and ones surroundings and the lengths to which an individual will go to possess this feeling can be evidently seen in Arthur Miller’s play “The Crucible” and Sidney Lumet’s movie take on Reginald Rose’s screenplay “12 Angry Men”. Likewise, a feeling of disconnectedness and disparity is explored as strong themes in both texts through the idea that individuals will adhere to their own moral ...view middle of the document...

A panel of 12 jurors attempt to decide the fate of a man in a murder trial. It is said that “the burden of truth is on the prosecution” showing that power lies in the hands of others. This responsibility is further intensified as it is noted that they must be “impartial judges of the facts” which very often does not happen in reality. This is mirrored in ‘The Crucible’ as the society is said to have a “predilection for minding other people’s business” hinting that the community of Salem did not have a healthy sense of boundaries of privacy, hence helping to encourage and “feed the coming madness”.
The plays ‘The Crucible’ and indeed ’12 Angry Men’ are used to highlight that people prey on outsiders, especially when the accusers are motivated by greed or fear. A ‘scapegoat’ is more or less created out of the minority and “long-held hatreds of neighbours” are able to be “openly expressed, and vengeance taken”. The role of the Salem Theocracy was to “prevent any kind of disunity that might open it to destruction” highlighting the controlling sense of belonging enforced by the community. Acts of individuality are often challenged and opposed by a majority, under the belief that they are threatening to the already established unit one through which; rigidity of values, thoughts and beliefs are filtered. This contrasts to the atmosphere seen in ’12 Angry Men’ where “freedom of speech” is reserved, as is the right to stay unbiased and mutual. The 12th juror member states he doesn’t believe he has to be “loyal to one side or another” in terms of voting ‘guilty’ or ‘not guilty’ but rather is “simply asking questions” to provoke a rethinking of the sentence. This type of freedom is not seen in ‘The Crucible’. Danforth in Act III depicts the inflexibility of Salem stating that a person is either “with this court or he must be counted against it, there be no road between” emphasising the absolute nature of the sense of justice in Salem.
The disassociation from ones group or community can be a distressing and testing experience. An individual, whom possesses strong moral bearings, and is faced with such a task as rebellion, will be able to withstand pressure and thus prevail. Within the opening prologue Proctor is conveyed as a character of individuality; being described as “not easily led” and a man “in his prime” whom possessed a “quiet confidence and an unexpressed hidden force.” Thus the context of Proctor is set up very early on, enabling readers of the play to foreshadow his rise against constraints of the norm within the Salem community. Likewise, though without the use of words, Lumet...

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