Holism vs. Individualism in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible

Mariem Khmiri


        In his introduction to The Crucible, Arthur Miller admits that the village of Salem was designed as “a combine of state and religion whose function was to keep the community together” (Crucible, 16). This holistic approach to government endemic in the minds of the founders of Salem is premised on their resoluteness to protect their community against the risk of intrusion or impurity: “all organization is and must be grounded on the idea of exclusion and prohibition” (Crucible, 16). However, the apparent concern for social homogeneity among the Salemites was nothing but an overlay hiding its deeper purpose as the ideology of always keeping the mass under control. The Salem witch-hunt is the offshoot of this holistic system characterized by its demand to preserve its puritan community while it betrays its deeper truth as the obsessive perpetuation of endless violence: moral and physical.


Holism, individualism, crisis, manipulation, homogeneity, heterogeneity.

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