Essay on Tituba in 'The Crucible': Character Analysis

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Could you imagine being accused of committing a crime because of your culture? Global issues are problems that are known to affect people on a large scale globally. The issue of how cultural bias can impact the actions of a person is brought up in the play, The Crucible, by Arthur Miller, and the podcast Serial, produced by Sarah Koenig. In The Crucible, Tituba, a Barbadian slave, practices what the Puritans referred to as “black magic”. Tituba being convicted for her practices is essentially prejudiced. In Serial, the question of anti-Muslim prejudice was brought up as to whether or not it played a part in Adnan being imprisoned.

It is evident that cultural bias impacted the actions of people throughout The Crucible. Miller uses many stylistic features to help convey this global issue. The lines when Hale states “Who came to you with the Devil? Two? Three? Four? How many?” and Titubal replies with “There was four. There was four” (Miller Page 189) express this global issue through the use of dramatic irony. Hale confronts Tituba about her encounters with the devil. As a reader, we know that there have been no encounters with the devil or witchcraft, it was solely spiritual practices from her African roots. We know that Tituba is only confessing because of her realization that it was better to give the townspeople what they wanted by divulging an act that she didn’t do and to save her life. Another example of cultural bias is “ ‘No! I don't hate that man. I don't want to kill that man.’ But he says, ‘You work for me, Tituba, and I make you free! I give you a pretty dress to wear and put you way high up in the air, and you went fly back to Barbados!’” (Miller Pag 189). Tituba is trying to save herself after being accused of witchcraft so she names Parris to try to take the attention off of her. This quote exhibits characterization. Mr. Parris is being characterized as selfish. Parris is full of hubris and is only worried about his reputation. A final example of this theme is when Parris says “Who? Who? Their names, their names!” and Tituba replies with “Oh, how many times he bid me kill you, Mr. Parris” (Miller Pag 189). This reveals a suspicious tone because people are wondering why the girls are in the woods and what is wrong with them. Overall, it is apparent that Titubas fate throughout the witch trials had a lot to do with cultural bias. Tituba is a slave and is in a powerless position because of being considered different in the community.

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Cultural bias impacting a person’s actions is also seen in Serial. After Hae was mysteriously murdered, Adnan was a quick suspect because he was her ex-boyfriend. There is no physical evidence to prove if Adnan is guilty so many may say he was put in prison because he is Muslim. Much of the podcast suggested that Adnan’s purpose for murdering Hae was because of the pride behind his Muslim identity. The lines “and he cited that there is a pattern in the United States of America where young Pakistani males have been jilted, have committed murder, and have fled to Pakistan and we have been unable to extradite them back. He gave me a specific instance that’s occurring now, that’s pending in Chicago, where the factual pattern is frighteningly similar. Again it’s a young Pakistani male who was jilted by his girlfriend who fled the country” (Serial Episode #10) showing cultural bias through the use of logos. Vickie Wash brings up a Chicago case where a Pakistani male committed a murder and then fled to Pakistan. She is essentially saying that issuing Adnan bail is equal to giving him a passport to flee the country. This shows prejudice because just because another Pakistani male doing this, does not mean that Adnan did. Logos is used because Wash is trying to compare Adnan’s situation to another person just because of their culture. Ethos is represented throughout the lines “Your honor, the fact that the defendant has strong support from the community, that is what makes him unique in this case. He is unique because he has limitless resources, he has the resources of this entire community here” (Serial Episode #10). Wash uses the fact that Adnan has support throughout his Muslim community as a way to say that he would have the support and help to flee the country. The lines “We have information from our investigation that the defendant has an uncle in Pakistan, and he has indicated that he can make people disappear” (Serial Episode #10) give off a misleading tone. Adnan is being accused of having an uncle who will help him flee the country. They are also saying that his ties to the mosque will also help him flee the county. This shows how his religion came into play at the trial through the use of stereotypes. Throughout Serial it is shown that Adnan’s Muslim and Pakistani identities played a part in much of his case including the state’s investigation, bail hearing, and jury deliberations.

Cultural bias and the impact it has on people’s actions is a global issue. This issue is seen throughout The Crucible and Serial. In The Crucible, Tituba is accused of witchcraft because of her Barbadian culture. In Serial, Adnan faced prejudice throughout his trial. It is important to understand cultural bias because it is simple to lessen the influence culture has on us. Cultures shape the way we interact with others. Understanding cultural differences can help us understand people’s situations, beliefs, and experiences.

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