What Is the Point of View in "The Crucible"?
Arthur Miller’s 1952 play “The Crucible” centers on the Salem witch trials, which he uses as an allegory for the 1950s political campaign against communism in the U.S. The story is told from multiple points of view. Each character’s lines are spoken from that individual’s perspective: a first-person point of view. Miller also includes an outsider’s point of view through narration and stage directions.
Me, Myself, I
The characters in “The Crucible” share their individual beliefs, concerns and feelings. This first-person point of view is expressed during ordinary conversations as well as when accusations of witchcraft are the subject of discussion. The focus on self happens even when characters talk about others’ motivations. For example, in Act One, the character John Proctor says he plans to rebel against Salem's religious authority, but the elderly Rebecca Nurse contradicts him, clearly hoping it is not true.
View From the Outside
The intermittent narration within the play offers an omniscient third-person point of view, presenting new insights into many characters. This often occurs when a character first appears. For instance, toward the end of Act One, as Reverend Hale enters, the narration describes him thoroughly, including his prideful nature and religious convictions. Stage directions also contribute to this all-knowing point of view. For example, in Act Two, tension exists between Proctor and his wife, Elizabeth. After his dinner, the stage directions indicate that Elizabeth longs to speak to her husband, but the emotional separation between the two increases.
Living in upstate New York, Susan Sherwood is a researcher who has been writing within educational settings for more than 10 years. She has co-authored papers for Horizons Research, Inc. and the Capital Region Science Education Partnership. Sherwood has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction from the University at Albany.