At the climax of The Crucible, Arthur Miller inserts Friedrich Nietzsche's famous and controversial statement, "GOD IS DEAD," into John Proctor's mouth. Obviously, someone as well-read as Miller means this as an intentional reference. Literary scholars call the intersection of two different texts (here, Nietzsche's and Miller's) INTERTEXTUALITY, the "shaping" of one text by another that pairs up with it. So my question for you is, what is Miller trying to do by establishing an intertextual connection between his work and Nietzsche's philosophy? How does the Nietzsche reference "shape" our interpretation of Miller's play, of scapegoating, of Proctor's rebellion against conformity, or of the Witch Trials and Red Scare themselves? Is there a message for modern society in there?
Post your thoughts here BEFORE we read act III and see how Miller uses the line. Think about how it MIGHT to connect to what we have ALREADY seen in Salem, especially the end of Act II.
Nietzsche's Text: The Madman (read first):
On Nietzsche's statement (read, with optional links):
Philosopher Simon Critchley's Interpretation (brief video):
Interesting Link - controversy based on The Crucible (optional):
Mr. Justin Biggs