My essay compares and contrasts 2 literary works, “Fahrenheit 451” written by ray Bradbury, and the play “The Crucible” authored by Arthur Miller. The purpose of the essay is to study society and its idiosyncrasies while exploring literary style at the same time. The audiences most likely to benefit from the essay include classical literature enthusiasts keen to identify patterns in literature and art across generations, geography and timelines. It may also benefit social scientists keen to spot trends in society from historical and speculative perspectives.
The essay assumes a point-by-point format in which similarities and differences are highlighted one after the next. An example of an internet site that might be interested in my essay is iMdb.com, a movie review site. With so many competing sites online, iMdb.com does need to add value to its product offering by exploring deeper and connecting dots to give an enriching experience. My essay is just the kind of value addition that might prove helpful.
Comparison and Contrast Between “Fahrenheit 451” and “The Crucible”
Both works of literature have very strong themes that overall flow in similar direction, though the differences in their various facets remain clear. This section explores the similarities and differences between them, starting with a comparison followed by a contrast.
· Both plays are centered on official extremism and the antagonism between the extremist forces and those that try to advocate moderation. In Fahrenheit 451, the government has brainwashed the people into an anti-intellectualist hysteria and has sanctioned the burning of all books. Any form of intellectual discourse is discouraged, and instead a hedonistic society is promoted where leisure is predominant. Montag’s grows to be a dissenting voice over time, and faces immense challenges in its fight to free itself from the shackles of hedonism. In ‘The Crucible’, society is bent on witch-hunting and all manner of injustices are being committed under the guise of ridding society of evil. Proctor is the most pronounced advocate for a just system that tries individuals fairly using evidence.
· Both works were turned into films; owing to their centrality to literature in the western world. “The Crucible” was turned into a film produced in 1996 by Niholas Hytner, with the screenplay being authored by Arthur Miller. “Fahrenheit 451” was turned into a 1996 film directed by Francois Truffaut. An adaptation of the same has been in the works for a prolonged period of time now, dogged by numerous setbacks.
· Besides highlighting extremism, both works also feature a lot of witch-hunting of dissenting views; radicals are not simply maligned, but actively hunted down. In Fahrenheit, Montag, upon realizing the folly of society’s majority, goes ahead to steal and hide books for his own reading. When this is discovered, his own peers at the fire station accompany him to burn not just the books but his entire house. He is forced to flee when things get violent and a dramatic chase ensues. He’s forced into exile. In The Crucible, Proctor is an otherwise straight farmer who works hard to fend for his family, though is dogged by an extra-marital affair. He is the strongest voice against the methodology being used by the courts in conviction of suspects where evidence is scarcely used. He gets grilled for his stance and is suspected of defending witchcraft. Ultimately, he is accused of witchcraft when he defends his wife who has been put on the dock thanks to a jealous former employee. He is hanged without cause.
· Both films also highlight the way in which society’s feuds can ruin family relationships. We see Montag and Mildred facing marital problems because of the former’s increasing inclination toward intellectualism. In The Crucible, Proctor and Elizabeth get into arguments because their housemaid, Mary, has joined the courts in Salem which Proctor detests but which Elizabeth considers an honor to serve in.
· In developing their themes, both works highlight what is seen as any good cause’s biggest enemy – fear. In Fahrenheit, Faber is a Professor who knows the perils of society’s anti-intellectualism but is too afraid to challenge. He’s forced to hide books and act in unorthodox ways to maintain his intellectualism. In The Crucible, Mary is the only one who can save proctor from imminent death by telling the truth in court, but is too afraid to do so lest she be accused of defending a witch, and be suspected herself. They also highlight vices in society; greed in The Crucible as Putnam tries to grab Corey’s land. In Fahrenheit, government monstrosity is highlighted in how an innocent man is killed simply so that the public can be hoodwinked that culprits can’t escape.
· In both films, extremism leads to a breakdown of order in society.
· The plays are set in different eras; Fahrenheit 451 is set in an imaginary time, though at some point it is intoned that the time might be the mid 1990s. The plot is hypothetical, as it speculates a possible future. It is futuristic at the least. On the other hand, The Crucible is historical, basing its story on actual events – the witch-hunting in Salem that took place in America’s New England in the 17th Century at the height of Puritan activity.
· While one is a novel, the other is a play. The Crucible was written in 1953 as a script and has been shown as a play since. Fahrenheit on the other hand started off as a short story, then a novella before being novel in its own right.
· The protagonists in the plays differ in that when we’re introduced to them, Montag is an evolving dissenter who starts from towing society’s line to one that is radically against and actively fighting the establishment. Proctor in Crucible is a dissenter from the start.
· The most important difference however lies in how the works end; in Fahrenheit, good triumphs when nuclear war destroys the hedonistic city, necessitating the creation of a new society by pro-intellectuals. In The Crucible however, the hysteria and extremism still triumphs at the end as Proctor and 2 other innocent men are executed.