How does Miller and the composer of your chosen text present the human experience as confrontational?Composers utilise narratives as cautionary tales that place a mirror up to society, allowing composers to forge confrontational bodies of work challenging assumptions of responders, and exemplifying the destructive flaws of humanity. Arthur Miller encapsulates this in idea his 1952 tragedy The Crucible, through his confronting exploration of our innate flaws such as the destructive capacity of pride and the power of hysteria. A similar idea is also seen in Shirley Jackson’s 1948 dystopian short story The Lottery, whose critique of post-world war 2 America, materialises through her confrontational commentary on the oppression that arises from prideful and ignorant societies and the power of the mob mentality and hysteria.Pride is a powerful emotion and quality, that has the capacity to act as a driver and motivation for an individual’s actions as they become blinded resulting in the oppression of ones personal ideals and driving destruction. Miller, in his chilling tragedy, The Crucible exemplifies to his responder through his exploration of prideful individuals and the resulting oppression of valued personal ideals and the destruction that follows. This idea is clearly illustrated through Miller’s tragic character Proctor, whose confronting death in the coda arises from his fatal flaw of his pride and its conflict with his ideals. Initially it is Proctor’s pride in his reputation, embodied in inability to admit to his leachery, that presents the motivation for his undermining of his personal ideals of non-conformity, highlighted in Millers authorial intrusion where he states proctor is “not easily led”. It is this inconsistent behaviour driven by pride, that prevents proctor from confessing his leachery and ending the trials until it is too late, with the death of Proctor in the coda, whose belated coming of age in “but it is my name, you have my soul leave me my name” acts to build a sympathy in the audience and add to the confronting nature of Miller’s exploration. Furthermore, the capacity for pride to blind an individual and by extension undermine their ideals is highlighted through Miller’s ironic Judge Danforth whose hubris leads to his justification of a flawed justice, seen through the dramatic irony in “witchcraft is ipso facto… therefore we must rely on their victim and they do testify” wherein an authoritative tone is used to justify an illogical ideology. It is this pride he takes in his judgments that leads Danforth to become blinded and proclaim “the perfection of his punishment”, which ironically has led him to hang the likes of Rebecca Nurse and empower vengeance, with this pride acting to divide the town and allow for the slow breakdown of Salem to the mass hysteria. This presentation of Danforth, a parallell to McCarthy and HUAC, would have been confrontational to his audience as they are made to understand the flawed justice system their society has allowed to champion. Thus, Miller’s commentary on pride and its capacity to undermine personal ideals and bring destruction highlights our flaws and the confrontational nature of the human experience.Shirley Jackson, in her short story The Lottery, similarly explores pride and the destructive and irrational collective pride, however focusing on how a society empowered by ignorance, as a result of pride, ultimately drives the oppression of individuals, specifically in relation to the role and position of women in society. This capacity for a society’s pride towards flawed established cultures, such as those of patriarchy, to oppress an individual is illustrated through the view of the town towards the identity of women, highlighted in “Daughter’s draw with their husband’s families”, wherein the symbolism of this quote acts to highlight how a woman’s identity in the society is not her own, and is rather defined by her husband. Furthermore, this oppression of women is further highlighted through the social hierarchy of the town in “Wife draws for her husband…don’t you have a grown boy to do it for you?”, wherein the rhetorical question acts to highlight how the pride of the town in their patriarchal beliefs has become so ingrained that a woman is seen to be not only below men but also below a “grown boy”. This exemplifies how an ignorance to change, stirred by pride towards tradition, especially when flawed drives the undermining of values such as equality as individuals are oppressed. Jackson’s establishment of the social hierarchy of the town and the harsh oppression of women would have been quite confrontational to readers, highlighting the flaws within the patriarchal and oppressive 1940s America where women in jobs were scarce. However, the true confrontational aspect of the oppressive nature of the human quality of pride, is highlighted in the coda of the story in the death of Tessie Hutchinson, whose name is an allusion to Anne Hutchinson, a Christian preacher for individual rights, wherein the subversion of the reader’s expectations in the quote “and then they were upon her”, contrasts with the conventional build-up that occurred throughout the story, such as the establishment of a and the positive connotations of lottery. Thus it is this confrontational coda that enables Jackson to truly highlight the flaw of pride and ignorance towards change, and its capacity to oppress and undermine individuals.Hysteria and the mob mentality that it acts to forge acts to create a collective sense of fear or empowerment that can have profound impacts on the motivations of individuals. Miller, in the crucible, explores how the accusatory hysteria of a society can be insight emotions of fear that individuals can manipulate to gain power. This is seen in the ironic allusion “Where she walks the crowd parts like the red sea”, wherein Abigail is paralleled to Moses, showing how accusatory hysteria and its fear can be manipulated to result in the collective paradoxically latching onto any hope, no matter how sinful and perverted it may be. Furthermore the characterisation Mary as weak by Miller, through stage directions, in “[sobbing she rushes to Abigail]…[as Abigail in her infinite charity reaches out and draws her in]” exemplifies how hysteria can create a fear of isolation that may drive individuals to act inconsistent as they attempt to conform to the ideals of the crowd. Jackson, in the Lottery, explores how the mob mentality can act to empower individuals to undertake paradoxical actions as emotions such as empathy are undermined. This concept is illustrated through the detached tone of the narrator “a stone hit her on the side of the head” which act to build the normality of the tradition which, by the subversive nature of the coda, confrontingly highlights to the responder how mob mentality can drive brutality to become normal. Furthermore, this is also highlighted through the characterisation of Mrs. Delacroix by Jackson in “selected a stone so large she had to pick it up with both hands”, wherein she is compelled by the mob mentality that the lottery has created, to anomalously disregard all connections she has with the drawer of the ticket and murder, even if that person is a friend. Thus it can be seen that both Miller and Jackson confrontingly highlight the capacity for hysteria to drive emotions.Thus it can be seen that both Miller and Jackson utilise their texts to highlight the confronting nature of the human experience by highlight the flaws of humanity to responders.
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