The New Historicist Reading of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible

Fatemeh Mojdegani


New Historicism is a modern literary theory that concentrates on how events, places, and culture within a society affect or influence a written work. New historicism often looks for allusions to characterize of the time period a novel was written. This paper focuses on The Crucible, a dramatic work by American playwright, Arthur Miller. The paper studies how The Crucible is a vital part of America’s historical literature as well as essential to the present day discussion of New Historicism that is greatly influenced by the work of Michael Foucault and his theories about power and discourse and Stephen Greenblatt’s idea of “textuality of history”. Despite the obvious political criticisms contained within the play, most critics felt that The Crucible was a self contained play about a terrible period in American history. To put New Historicism as a mode of interpretation on this play, studies the complex networks of social discourses besides the concepts of power, subversion and resistance in this special way of reading of the play.


New Historicism; Power, Resistance, Subversion; Miller; History; Salem; Witch trial

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