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The Crucible by Arthur Miller

The Crucible (original 1953; edition 2003)

by Arthur Miller, Christopher Bigsby (Introduction)

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9,37386315 (3.66)185
Title:The Crucible
Authors:Arthur Miller
Other authors:Christopher Bigsby (Introduction)
Info:Penguin Classics (2003), Edition: 1, Paperback, 143 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Crucible by Arthur Miller (1953)


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English (84)  Italian (1)  German (1)  All languages (86)
Showing 1-5 of 84 (next | show all)
I took away more in this reading the idea of group guilt and point of no return. There are phrases like "I must," "bound by law," etc that seem to paint all, even the most manipulative players as pawns. Or, flies trapped in the amber. As if everyone contributes just a little in the laying of brick but then the structure itself has closed them in, forcing their hand. That self-reinforcing snowball effect is what's scary. ( )
  Victor_A_Davis | Sep 18, 2015 |
A fictionalized history of the Salem witch trials. The author changes some of the dynamics of the time, making the girls older than they really were, and introducing a love triangle between a major player, John Proctor, and one of the main girls involved in accusations, Abigail Williams. This is unfortunate, because it loses some of the power that the play might have by adding in the revenge fantasy of a teenage girl who in real life was a bored pre-teen. In spite of that, the play uses characters and situations that actually existed, and is a powerful indictment of mob hysteria. The work is still relevant, as people continue to deal with situations of mass responses to events. ( )
1 vote quantum_flapdoodle | Aug 25, 2015 |
Loved it. Learned the term "scapegoat." Hated Abigail, who symbolized every evil in the world to me. I don't know why, but Abigail was my scapegoat--what the citizens of Salem did was all the fault of Abigail. I think that for me she symbolized cheerleaders and popular girls in my school. ( )
  engpunk77 | Aug 14, 2015 |
I hate to rate this so low when it seems that the only people who do so are those forced to read it by a cruel teacher. I'm even more troubled by the fact that I haven't seen anyone else bring up what bothers me about this play.

Yes, it's well written -- that is, the dialogue is expertly handled. There are truly beautiful passages, such as this one:

I came into this village like a bridegroom to his beloved, bearing gifts of high religion; the very crowns of holy law I brought, and what I touched with my bright confidence, it died; and where I turned the eye of my great faith, blood flowed up.

But when it comes down to it, this is yet another piece of literature in which men HAVE sex, but women ARE sex. Men have complex lives and motivations; women's lives center entirely around men, specifically around attraction to and dependence on men.

Miller brought up the very real issues of property and land-lust that dominated the real trial. Why did he insist on sexualizing the girls involved -- to the point where he had to make one of the girls several years older than she really was? The terrifying thing about what the real "afflicted girls" did was that it comes across as a sort of motiveless malignity. They were lashing out at their own repressive society, possibly egged on by parents who wanted to use them as weapons in battles over land. That's fascinating.

Instead, Miller decided to say that the girls really were engaged in "witchcraft" -- or at least in stereotypical witch behavior: dancing naked in the woods at night, concocting evil brews. He insists that "there are accounts of similar klatches in Europe, where the daughters of the towns would assemble at night and, sometimes with fetishes, sometimes with a selected young man, give themselves to love, with some bastardly results." He doesn't seem to realize that these "accounts" are all from accusers or from the tortured accused. He really seems to believe that this went on.

Then there's the main character: John Proctor. Can't imagine why I have a hard time sympathizing with him.

Imagine you know a family with three young children. They hire an au pair. The dad has an affair with this young woman -- hardly older than a girl, a virgin, completely inexperienced in life or love. The mom suspects that something is going on and fires her, but stays with the dad. The dad bitches at the mom for always giving him that look and not acting happy to see him all the time. The mom breaks down crying and admits that her cold behavior must have pushed him into having an affair. The dad also bitches at the au pair, because this affair got her hopes up and she really thought it meant something to him the way it did to her. He screams at this teenager (who was lucky not to get pregnant, btw, since they didn't use birth control) to get over it, already -- he's married and he's staying that way.

If you heard about something like this -- maybe it happened to a friend of yours, maybe you read about it in a novel -- would your first sympathy really be with the poor, tormented man who has to put up with all these women acting like he owes them something?

Why has no one pointed out how creepy it is that John Proctor is genuinely supposed to be a sympathetic character, and Abigail is a monster?

And by the way -- contrary to what Miller says in his afterword, the only "legend" that "has it that Abigail turned up later as a prostitute in Boston" is the one he started by writing this.

Sorry. I'm not in 9th grade, and I still have problems with this modern classic. I understand why it is one; but I just can't give it the three "I liked it!" stars. ( )
1 vote Deborah_Markus | Aug 8, 2015 |
This was a very interesting read. It was terrifying, frustrating, and infuriating. The Salem witch trials often have that effect on me.
I found myself yelling out loud during parts of the book.
I wasn't too pleased with the treatment of the women in this book, both by the other characters and the author. There was a definite "blame the psychotic mistress/cold distant wife" angle. The man who cheated on his wife and resented her feelings about it was supposed to be sympathetic, and it was hard for me to side with him, for obvious reasons. ( )
  DanielleMD | Jun 20, 2015 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Miller, Arthurprimary authorall 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.
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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Wikipedia in English (3)

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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