Portrayal of an Overpowering Fear in Arthur Miller's 'The Crubicle'

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About this sample


Words: 1055 |

Pages: 2|

6 min read

Published: Jul 3, 2023

Words: 1055|Pages: 2|6 min read

Published: Jul 3, 2023

Arthur Miller shows how 'The Crubicle' portrays fear through conformity and how we can relate that in our lives today. Conformity is a very strong form of fear and is portrayed all throughout 'The Crubicle'. Conformity has affected mankind for years. It is a strong theme in 'The Crubicle', and Arthur Miller’s audience can relate to it in their own lives. In the essay on fear in 'The Crucible', I delve into the gripping portrayal of fear's destructive power and its role in driving the tragic events that unfold in Salem.

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Portrayal of Fear Through Conformity, Guilt and Revenge in 'The Crubicle'

In 'The Crubicle', the necessity to conform to the Church’s views and that of its minister is clearly evident. The main female characters in 'The Crubicle' find themselves in quite a difficult position. They must either turn their backs on what they believe in and lie by admitting that they were having “relations with the devil” out in the woods, thereby conforming with the church’s wishes, or they must follow their instinctive beliefs and refuse to lie by defending the more accepted idea that they were just dancing in the woods. This can be related in real life by conforming to something that isn’t true just to “fit in” or be accepted into a group. An example of conformity today would be people getting botox, hair extensions, fake eyelashes and plastic surgery just to fit in with a stereotype of what society expects young people to look like. Another fear of conformity would be faking Instagram posts to look better and fit in with the hysteria of not being liked virtually through social media mediums such as Instagram, or not being liked in real life.

What would you do if you were being excluded every day and always being the odd one out and not fitting in all the time? Abigail pulling away from the window: “I told him everything; he knows, he knows everything we “BETTY: You drank blood, Abby! You didn’t tell him that!” Abigail: “Betty, you never say that.” This quote represents a fear of conformity and getting in trouble as Abigail said, “you never say that!” implying that she doesn’t want Reverend Parris knowing that she drank blood. This can relate back to real life problems such as being afraid of getting in trouble e.g. Fear of conformity of getting in trouble could relate to not following a certain rules like following the law etc. The fear of conformity from breaking the law would be the fear of going to jail. This relates back to the quote when Abigail said, “Betty you never say that.” She fears her uncle knowing that she drank blood. This can also relate to the fear of reputation. In 'The Crubicle', John Proctor is fearful from getting his reputation ruined. John Proctor offers up his own reputation as a sacrifice in order to end the witch trials. Quote: “I speak my own sins; I cannot judge another. I have no tongue for it.” Proctor confesses to witchcraft yet refuses to lay the blame on others.

“You are the high court; your word is good enough! Tell them I confessed myself; say Proctor broke his knees and wept like a woman; say what you will, but my name cannot.” This quote by John Proctor symbolises fear through reputation. Proctor believes a public display of his wrongdoing only intensifies the extent of his sin, thereby multiplying his guilt. Proctor's decision to tell the court about his affair was an attempt to both save Abigail and his reputation. This can be shown in today’s society e.g. People being fearful of getting their reputation destroyed on social media and getting judged by others. People try to fake Instagram and Facebook posts by using photoshop just to look good and not have their peers see them as flawed. In this way, they would feel like their perceived bad looks would wreck their own reputation.

“Because it is my name! Because I cannot have another in my life! Because I lie and sign myself to lies! Because I am not worth the dust on the feet of them that hang! How may I live without my name? I have given you my soul; leave me my name!” John Proctor says these words at the end of the play while deliberating whether to sign the confession. Proctor understands his reputation is at stake, a reputation he attempts to save by withholding his confession of an adulterous affair earlier in the play. He realizes now that the only way to save his reputation is by telling the truth. In 'The Crubicle', Arthur Miller represents how reputation is immensely important in Salem, where public and private moralities are the one and same. In an environment where reputation plays a very important role, the fear of guilt by organisation becomes very destructive.

Arthur Miller displays revenge as a main theme all through the play, 'The Crubicle'. It is represented throughout the characters and their movements during the Salem witch trials. Witchcraft was used to symbolize the revenge used against those who were accused of being witches. People fear revenge because it is one of the most powerful of all of the emotions e.g. Revenge would be you causing some conflict with someone such as taking something valuable or betraying their trust. This causes conflict and naturally revenge is taken to ‘get back’ at that person by inflicting harm or damage to them. Another example would be shaming a person on social media for everyone to see, this could be a form of revenge and instil fear in them.

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Arthur Miller portrays fear very well in 'The Crubicle' in many different ways such as fear of conformity with not fitting in, fear of destroying reputation, fear of guilt and fear of revenge. Fear plays a major role in 'The Crubicle' and is the main reason why the village of Salem dealt with the witchcraft incidents so badly. These are the focal points of 'The Crubicle' and it is from Abigail Williams’ inability to tell the truth or respect authority that the fear of others develops. We see this evident in today’s society with social media causing many people to feel these strong fearful emotions all stemming from a modern perspective of an overpowering fear of not being liked and not fitting in. 

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Portrayal of an Overpowering Fear in Arthur Miller’s ‘The Crubicle’. (2023, July 03). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 20, 2024, from
“Portrayal of an Overpowering Fear in Arthur Miller’s ‘The Crubicle’.” GradesFixer, 03 Jul. 2023,
Portrayal of an Overpowering Fear in Arthur Miller’s ‘The Crubicle’. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 20 May 2024].
Portrayal of an Overpowering Fear in Arthur Miller’s ‘The Crubicle’ [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2023 Jul 03 [cited 2024 May 20]. Available from:
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