The New Historicist Reading of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible

Fatemeh Mojdegani

Abstract


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.


Keywords


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

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References


Bigsby, C. (2005). Arthur Miller: A critical study. Cambridge: UP.

Bloom, H. (Ed.). (1999). Modern critical interpretations: Arthur Millerís The Crucible. Philadelphia: Chelsea House.

Curtis, P. (1971). The Crucible. In G. Weales (Ed.), Arthur Miller the Crucible: Text and criticism (pp.255-71). New York: Viking.

Foucault, M. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.webs.wofford.edu/whisnant cj/his 389/foucault: 3-4

Miller, A. (1982). The Crucible. New York: Dramatists Play Service.

Miller, A. (1987). Timebends. New York: Grove.

Tiwary, N., & Chandra, N. D. R. (2009). New historicism and Arundhati Roy’s works. Journal of Literature, Culture and Media Studies, 1, 79-96.




DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3968/8590

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