Both Kazan and miller show that it takes courage to do the right thing.…
Both Kazan and miller show that it takes courage to do the right thing. Discuss
what is the right thing
who does the right thing?
who doesn't do the right thing?
what are the consequences of doing the right thing for the group and the individual
why do people struggle to do the right thing?
how do they overcome that struggle?
what do the authors say about people who are able to do the right thing?
Ability to do the right thing = god like quality due to the sheer amount of courage required (B3)
crosses in powerlines
Parallel drawn by Fr Barry of Kayo's death as 'a crucifixion'
'Jesus is down here on the waterfront'
'I like it not that Mr Parris lays his hands upon my baby i see no light of God in that man'
inability to show courage through doing the right thing, results in failure to show godly characteristics
develops notion that although ability to abandon social constructs and expectations is often seen as god-like quality it is something that is atainable for all people is they believe like proctor that they are 'a good person' and seek eschatological redemption
all people are flawed and those who are able to overcome self-preservation and are 'crucified' in the texts are flawed (Proctor's affair, Kayo steals etc)
'your either with this court or against it' vs 'whoever is not with me is against me and whoever does not gather w/ me scatters' (Luke 11:13-24)
Final scene parallels crucifixion of Jesus
'Like a christian I wilted'
'the finger of God'
individuals struggle to do the right thing due to the consequences it may have for both the individual and the community (B1)
right thing in terms of conscience vs right thing as deemed by social mores of society
although ultimately terry does the right thing by his conscience he abandons the indoctrinated understanding of the right thing in order to do so.
those within the union adhere to the 'd and d' approach enforced by the union bosses as a result of the innate human tendency to seek self-preservation. When individuals choose to stand up to the corrupt system 'the lights go out and [those involved] go out' this response to non-conformity results in widespread fear within the Hoboken docks and further fuels the apprehension and suspicion amongst the workers.
in both texts doing the 'consciously' right thing to do could have fatal consequences
by doing the right thing Terry jeopardises his position within the union, in his current position he is able to 'put the love of a cushy job over the love of man'
Terry struggles with his desire to do the right thing by Edie and ultimately the workers as a whole as a result of his need to remain loyal to both his brother Charley and Johnny Friendly who Terry eventually realises 'still owns [him]'
we see terry's struggle in the glove scene where he makes clear internal desire to be intimate and trusted by Edie and he knows that in order to do this he must reveal the truth hidden by the union. He struggles with the glove in a similar way to that of his internal struggle.
throughout the text charley places his loyalty to the union above that of his own brother, Terry. Kazan creates the facade of Charley 'the gent' who abides by the unions rules and depreciates Terry's importances in order to ensure he is kept out of trouble. In an early scene on the Docks Charley encourages Terry to infiltrate the meeting held by Fr Barry at the Church encouraging him to see it 'as a favour' for Friendly. This scene is later paralleled in the taxi scene where Terry reveals that Charley 'should'a looked out for [him] just a little bit' to ensure his desire to pursue the American dream to be 'somebody' was not forsaken for the union. The American dream which ultimately is pursued by all within the film is highlighted through the intangible empire state building in the background of a plethora of Kazan's scenes. Despite the fatal consequences, Charley chooses despite Friendly's instructions not to murder his brother, transcending the dogmatic system and following his conscience.
chooses Edie's education over desire for justice, keeps quiet about the union in order to afford to keep her out of the environment of the waterfront
'quarters in a cookie jar'
'go back to the nun's where you belong'
Abigail confess to Proctor at the beginning that they 'were just dancing' yet he chooses not to tell the courts despite the numerous deaths his actions cause
Eventually Proctor can see Abigail's actions for what they are 'A whore's vengeance', against his wife and himself
Proctor struggles to confess the truth behind the accusations, fearing the repercussions such an accusation would have for his own reputation if negated now that the courts have deemed all the 'accusers as holy as if they were born this morning' and perhaps it is also his deep struggle with his own afflicted affection towards Abigail which continues far beyond the illicit affair.
initially chooses to join the other teenage tyrants in exercising power within Salem, caught up in the mass hysteria.
she struggles to abandon the self-righteousness she inherits by virtue of being one of the testifying children.
'I am a woman 18 however single, Mr Proctor and I will not be ordered to bed no more'
'I must go to Salem, goody proctor, I am an official of the court'
fears the consequences of being disloyal to her friends yet attempts to follow her own conscience to appease her own eschatological fears.
ultimately being ostracised by community and abandoned by individuals who were once her friends proves too much and instead she continues to testify against others
'You're the devil's man!'
'Stop it Abbey! Stop it!'
how do people overcome this struggle (B2)
People who don't
Fail to overcome and utilise their own positions of power which they gain by doing the wrong thing to ensure that others don't do the right thing either
they justify their actions and strike fear into those who may rebel ('stinking watchman's pension)('I've seen some reddish things in the dead of night')
justifies actions ('stinking watchman's pension'
places desire for power and authority over 'conscience'
'I didn't work my way up for nothing'
develops a system of social mores where the right thing is not what one's conscience asserts but rather what ensures Johnny Friendly remains in power
ultimately her actions are no more than 'a whores vengeance'
Uses the scapegoat of Tituba in order to absolve herself of responsibility
'In this house trouble eventually lands on tituba's back'
'She made me do it! she made betty do it!'
takes advantage of the power which she gains from the mass hysteria, wielding it for her own benefit.
other opportunistic members of the community also grasp onto this newfound power, utilising it to lay blame to others for their own benefit.
Mr Putnam (Neighbours land)
Begins with blaming those at bottom of social hierarchy who do not have power or respected reputation to protect them. It is only once Abigail lays blame to 'a ministers wife' that the infiltration of the lie within the court which ironically is believed to 'burn a hot fire which melts all concealment' begins to be revealed
Justifies her actions of persecuting Goody Proctor as being due to her 'spreading lies' about Abigail in the village rather than acknowledging her true motives.
Justifies his actions of concealing the truth
'There is a faction sworn to drive me from my pulpit'
'My Ministry's at stake'
'I have spent .. hard years bending [the parish's] stiff necks to me'
feels a sense of authority and self-righteousness reflected in his desire to obtain the 'deed to his land'
Parris attempts to protect his own interests and in doing so abandons common sense, lies and hides the truth
People who do
knowing that he would not be alone in standing up to the union ('if you stand up I'll stand up with you')
ultimately it is through the group strategy of the workers in standing up to the union that allows the workers to transcend this struggle
the irony is that in the final scene, the workers are again depicted blindly following yet another man who resembles the long tail coat and upper class sense of self-righteousness which Friendly exhibits. Kazan illuminating the revolving door of power abuse which will 'be back' like Johnny Friendly Claims he will.
Conclusion / Key messages
illuminates the revolving door of abuse exercised by power hungry demagogues throughout the ages.
doing the right thing entails possessing the courage to transcend social mores that dictate the necessity of adhering to indoctrinated ideals rather than pursuing the truth.
Kazan and Miller both illuminate the necessity of following conscience during times of hardship yet acknowledge the divine and often intangible nature of being able to do so
Both texts highlight the complex nature of doing the right thing in times of crisis and imply that often situations are at times too complex to know what the right thing truly is