Judgement Theme Comparison in ‘The Crucible’ by Arthur Miller and ‘The Dressmaker’ by Rosalie Ham

This Resource is for Year 12 English students studying Unit 4 AOS:1 Reading & Comparing Texts in the Victorian VCE Curriculum for 2023.  Judgement is an important theme comparison between the play ‘The Crucible’ by Arthur Miller and the novel ‘The Dressmaker’ by Rosalie Ham.

What Kind of Judgement is in Both Texts?

  • Legal judgement in insular and conservative societies
  • Religious judgement in The Crucible and the role of punishment
  • Social judgement is a pervasive and destructive force in Salem & Dungatar
  • Self-judgement with both protagonists harshly judging themselves based on their pasts
  • Inter-personal judgement of protagonists with blame, guilt and need for atonement

Who is Judged in The Crucible?

  • Tituba, Goody Osborn = lower class, vulnerable women
  • John Proctor = by the court, by himself, by his wife Elizabeth
  • Innocent individuals = Rebecca Nurse

Who is Judged in The Dressmaker?

  • Tilly = by herself, by the community – blamed for Stewart Pettyman’s death
  • Molly = by the community – for having an illegitimate baby (Tilly)
  • Dungatar community – for secrets & fashion

Who Judges Others?

The CrucibleThe Dressmaker
The Court / Danforth = the lawSergeant Farrat = the law though he is lax
The Church / Reverend Parris / PuritismMr Almanac / Beula Harridene = self-appointed judges
Salem society judges each other = outcasts are judged first then no one is beyond judgementDungatar = the towns people judge each other by secrets kept, fashion and appearances

Who is Not Judged in The Crucible?

  • The Court in Salem is above reproach = Judge Danforth used black & white hypocritical thinking hanging innocent people “a person is either with this court or must be counted against it, there can be no road between” (Danforth)
  • Arthur Miller’s authorial intent is to point out the hypocrisy of the Court in Salem in an allegory for the Communist witch hunts in 1950’s America
  • Innocent people were hung in Salem like Rebecca Nurse who sacrifices her life for moral integrity that was lacking in the witch trials “another judgement waits us all” Rebecca is judged by her Christian beliefs

Character Focus Similarities of Protagonists Regarding Judgement – Note Different Endings

The Crucible – John ProctorThe Dressmaker – Tilly Dunnage
Protagonist of the playProtagonist of the novel
Non-conformist – farmer against strict Puritan rulesNon-conformist – outcast where she lives & through fashion & born illegitimate
Religious judgement – can’t say 10 Commandments / works on the Sabbath – all counts against him in Salem’s Puritan societyLegal judgement – as a child allegedly murdered Stewart Pettyman
Social & self-judgement – had indiscrete affair with Abigail – but trying to redeem himself & atoneSocial & self-judgement – blames herself for Stewart’s death – her guilt is a ‘black thing’ inside her she cannot escape it (p.184)
Self-judgement & atonement – ending is honourable & nobleSelf-judgement & revenge – ending is destructive & justified punishing the town

All Resources created by englishtutorlessons.com.au Online Tutoring using Zoom for Mainstream English Students in the Victorian Curriculum

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