This is an art project Gianna and I created based on The Crucible by Arthur Miller:
Guiding Question: How is manipulation within governments today similar to authority influence in the past?
Manipulation is present in both The Crucible as a major theme, and today within our society. Although power, authority, reputation, and religion are all important themes that guide the story and our current world, we have chosen manipulation to be showcased in our art. We also included other meaningful references within our artwork, such as the coffee-stained paper, colour scheme, and torn background.
In Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, manipulation plays a major part in the accusation of witches. Abigail influences others, including people of power, to make them think someone else is a witch when she is really the one to blame. This is shown in our art piece as people hanging from Abigail’s arms, as if she is controlling over them. The background also has a significant meaning, as it is pages from the novel torn and dyed to look like they were from the novel’s time period. This ties together with the other side, which has newspapers in the background talking about dictatorship in the world today. The highlighted words are important as they relate to our overall theme. A dictatorship is when the leader of a nation has complete control, and there is no freedom of speech or opinion within that society. Anyone speaking out against laws in this kind of country is punished, sometimes severely. Governments in Russia, North Korea, and some areas of Africa are a few examples of how minorities can be manipulated to believe a certain thing, leading to corruption, war, and violence. Examples of leaders who have done this are Kim Jong Un, his father Kim Jong-il, Vladimir Putin, Trump, and many others throughout history. Sometimes this thirst for control is simply based on the goal of gaining power though money. The control of news, propaganda and information can be a way to take over people’s minds and only input the information one wants them to read. This is seen in our art as people climbing up towards powerful leaders, as if they need them to survive. They are like zombies, who are manipulated and “brain-dead” to individualism. However, they are being deprived of freedom, individualism and rights. This is also common in a dictatorship when mass hysteria breaks out, and the dictator makes it seem as if they are the solution to the problem, when they actually caused it. This is exactly what occurred in The Crucible when Abigail says she sees “a bird” (114) to prove her innocence, convincing everyone of something that does not exist.
What can we do to combat this problem? Changing some aspects of social media may help to remove bias on current events or government. Creating a website that is purely educational with no bias could be a solution for people to get updated, accurate information on an event or person. Raising awareness in the education system could also have a positive impact on teenagers, so they can grow up to make their own decisions rather than being influenced by the media. Staying properly informed as a provincial or national voter makes a major difference because each individual can vote for their personal choice of leader, not who they have been influenced to vote for by the media or other people. According to Insead Knowledge, “abdicating personal responsibility cripples’ freedom of expression and derails democratic processes” so to combat dictatorship we can also strive for a more equal democracy. This is possible through peaceful protests and large groups coming together to create change.
In summary, manipulation is a major issue occurring in The Crucible, and currently today. Dictators can greatly influence people, depriving them of freedom of speech and making it seem like they must follow a certain leader or law. Our art piece depicts the feeling of manipulation in a way that both separates and combines the past and present. However, we can make a change today so that this no longer is a problem in the future. Through peaceful protests, proper elections, and equal democracy, society can become a place where rules are important, but do not take over freedom of speech.
Chandra, Ravi. “How Political Leaders Strategically Manipulate US.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, 12 Mar. 2020, http://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/the-pacific-heart/202003/how-political-leaders-strategically-manipulate-us.
“Dictatorship Countries 2022.” World Population Review, worldpopulationreview.com/country-rankings/dictatorship-countries.
Kets de Vries, Manfred. “Fighting against Dictatorship.” INSEAD Knowledge, 18 Jan. 2018, knowledge.insead.edu/blog/insead-blog/fighting-against-dictatorship-8161.
Niiler, Eric. “How Dictators Keep Control.” NBCNews.com, NBCUniversal News Group, 21 Dec. 2011, http://www.nbcnews.com/id/wbna45751914.