Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
School of Theatre and Dance: Theatre
In The Crucible Arthur Miller uses tropes of female characters, Abigail and Tituba, to tell a story of male heroism. In the process, he dismisses and appropriates the true stories of women who suffered during the Salem witch trials for his own political and personal gain. In this thesis, I argue that Miller’s appropriation and sexualization of women continues into contemporary popular culture depictions of the Salem witch trials including the movie adaptation of The Crucible and the television shows Salem and American Horror Story: Coven. These depictions appropriate and sexualize women’s stories in order to fulfill the male gaze. This thesis also explores how three contemporary women playwrights are writing new plays that address the sexism of Arthur Miller, show how The Crucible perpetuates abuse, and encourage women to confront sexism by creating their own works about the Salem trials. These plays are Abigail by Sarah Tuft, John Proctor is the Villain by Kimberly Belflower, and Becky Nurse of Salem by Sarah Ruhl. Finally, I argue that in order to have a true feminist redemption of the Salem witch trials in popular culture, there must be more creative and scholarly analysis of Tituba, a woman of color who has been most silenced in these depictions.
Morris, Hope Kristine, "Bewitching the Blame: the Crucible's Legacy of Appropriation and Sexual Shame in Popular Culture" (2021). Theses and Dissertations. 1395.