The Crucible

Ambiguous Political Agendas: Historical Figures in Miller and Atwood 12th Grade

Political agendas remain dubious and uncertain, but control is the eventual aim, almost by definition, of political activity. The Crucible by Arthur Miller and Margaret Atwood’s free-verse poem “Helen of Troy Does Countertop Dancing” expose innate connection between ambiguous motives and control. Both texts illustrate that an individual’s political motivations may be invisible to themself or to greater society, but control is needed in order to manipulate or survive under oppressive political and social structures.

As demonstrated in The Crucible, obscuring one’s political motivations from society is an essential method to gaining control and power. By hiding her real agenda and pretending to do God’s work, Abigail is able to control the theocracy of Salem. Betty reveals Abigail’s true agenda to the audience - “You drank a charm to kill John Proctor’s wife!” However, the stage direction of “smashes her across the face” allows her to hide her motivations through threats, violence and fear. She presents a fabricated agenda for the theocracy, claiming “I want to open myself! I want the love of God, I want the sweet love of Jesus.” The anaphora juxtaposes her violent and terrifying manipulation of the rest of the girls - she...

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