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The Crucible by Arthur Miller
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The Crucible (original 1953; edition 2003)

by Arthur Miller, Christopher Bigsby (Introduction)

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10,01998285 (3.65)199
Member:jaysbooks
Title:The Crucible
Authors:Arthur Miller
Other authors:Christopher Bigsby (Introduction)
Info:Penguin Classics (2003), Edition: 1, Paperback, 143 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
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The Crucible by Arthur Miller (1953)

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Arthur Miller's "The Crucible", written during the Red Scare, at a time when America was in a mass hysteria over the fear of communism, is about the Salem Witch Trials that took place in the 1600s. His plot describes the framing and execution of innocent people by their despicable neighbors. Ironically, the trials and framings centered on religion! Those who didn't regularly go to mass or didn't strictly follow the puritan beliefs were seen as working with the devil. In order to cleanse the community, witches were executed, except of course if they confessed their evil ways.

The play centers around teenager Abigail Williams and her scandalous affair with John Proctor, who is married to Elizabeth. When John broke off the affair, Abigail decided to accuse Elizabeth of witchcraft. What followed was many accusations of dealing with the devil by many neighbors, commencing the infamous Salem Witch Trials. Those who wouldn't admit to this made-up crime were tried and hung, Those who confessed to the false accusation were spared their life, although their reputations were tarnished, Both Elizabeth and John Proctor are arrested, and both insisted they were innocent. John was about to sign a waiver claiming he did in fact make a deal with the devil, but stopped himself right before. He chose his pride and dignity over his life.

I found this historical fiction play beyond creepy. It was intriguing, somewhat disturbing, and I would definitely recommend it. I learned a lot about this unnerving time in history, and felt it painted a great picture of the dull 1600s in Massachusetts. However, if you are afraid of witches, spirits, or anything dealing with devil, I warn you to read at your own risk! ( )
  mattflem15 | Nov 8, 2016 |
This was an interesting play, but there were very obvious plot holes that bothered me. ( )
  bburton131 | Jun 19, 2016 |
Arthur Miller's drama about the Salem Witch Trials is an analogy of the predisposition and profiling that is present in society. His plot details the ruin of families and execution of innocent people at the hands of manipulative neighbors - all in the name of religion! Conflicts abound between the believers who hold strictly to the Puritan ideology and those believers who exercise original thought. If you are living outside of the faith, then you must be associated with the devil. In order to cleanse the community, witches were executed, except of course if they confessed their evil ways. However, a false confession is a sin and then results in damnation. Damned if you do and damned if you don't confess. Miller's depicts major collisions between corrupt and hypocritical authority figures and defenseless or resistant citizens. In the height of the craze, no one is safe from accusations and many people have learned how to profit from false accusations. Characters struggle to maintain their reputations and integrity. Miller's characters depict the inability to forgive and the refusal to acknowledge redemption. This drama is a must read for a study in early American subject matter because Miller expertly captures the language and ideas of early colonial literature. I also use this text in a unit that explores the stories of becoming individuals in a status quo society and an exploration of the instances of stereotyping people. Miller's drama echoes across so many other literary periods other than the colonial time period. Students explore the witches, the communist spies, the traitor Japanese, and so many more ethnic and racial groups.

http://historyofmassachusetts.org/the-salem-witch-trials/
http://www.history.com/topics/salem-witch-trials
http://www.history.com/topics/world-war-ii/japanese-american-relocation
http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/arthur-miller-mccarthyism/484/
http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/arthur-miller-mccarthyism/484/ ( )
  sgemmell | Apr 20, 2016 |
I'd probably like this better if I could have gotten over how *stupidily repressed* everyone was. ( )
  wealhtheowwylfing | Feb 29, 2016 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Miller, Arthurprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Watts, RichardIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wood, E. R.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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A small upper bedroom in the home of Reverend Samuel Parris, Salem, Massachusetts, in the spring of the year 1692.
A Note on the Historical Accuracy of This Play

This play is not history in the sense in which the word is used by the academic historian.
Quotations
PROCTOR: I have trouble enough without I come five mile to hear him preach only hellfire and bloody damnation. Take it to heart, Mr. Parris. There are many others who stay away from church these days because you hardly ever mention God any more.
PARRIS: There is a party in this church. I am not blind; there is a faction and a party.

PROCTOR: Against you?
PUTNAM: Against him and all authority.
PROCTOR: Why, then I must find it and join it.
PARRIS. Why could there not have been poppets hid where no one ever saw them?

PROCOTR. There might also be a dragon with five legs in my house, but no one has ever seen it.
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Book description
Arthur Miller's, The Cucible, is a play that is based on the tragic event in history of the Salem Witch Trials in Salem, Massachusetts. Presenting the themes of right and wrong, truth and decit, and prejudice and accepance, The Crucible causes its readers to reflect on their own morals and standards along with informing them of a terrible moment in America's past where many innocent people lost their lives. I really enjoyed this book; and the ideas and challenges it presents seem to be very valuable and insighful.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0142437336, Paperback)

Based on historical people and real events, Arthur Miller's play uses the destructive power of socially sanctioned violence unleashed by the rumors of witchcraft as a powerful parable about McCarthyism.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:08 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

"I believe that the reader will discover here the essential nature of one of the strangest and most awful chapters in human history," Arthur Miller wrote in an introduction to The Crucible, his classic play about the witch-hunts and trials in seventeenth-century Salem, Massachusetts. Based on historical people and real events, Miller's drama is a searing portrait of a community engulfed by hysteria. In the rigid theocracy of Salem, rumors that women are practicing witchcraft galvanize the town's most basic fears and suspicions; and when a young girl accuses Elizabeth Proctor of being a witch, self-righteous church leaders and townspeople insist that Elizabeth be brought to trial. The ruthlessness of the prosecutors and the eagerness of neighbor to testify against neighbor brilliantly illuminate the destructive power of socially sanctioned violence. Written in 1953, The Crucible is a mirror Miller uses to reflect the anti-communist hysteria inspired by Senator Joseph McCarthy's witch-hunts in the United States. Within the text itself, Miller contemplates the parallels, writing: "Political opposition ... is given an inhumane overlay, which then justifies the abrogation of all normally applied customs of civilized behavior. A political policy is equated with moral right, and opposition to it meets with diabolical malevolence."… (more)

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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