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The Crucible (1953)

by Arthur Miller

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
12,709138349 (3.65)234
"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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» See also 234 mentions

English (131)  Spanish (2)  French (2)  Italian (1)  Portuguese (1)  German (1)  All languages (138)
Showing 1-5 of 131 (next | show all)
I’ve been meaning to read Miller’s work for many years. I wish I could say I loved it, but this would be an overstatement. True, “The Crucible” provides a riveting history lesson that is every bit as pertinent today as it was several centuries ago. It’s certainly provocative and graphically illustrates the horrors of both literal and figurative “witch hunts.” But I found the story disjointed in numerous places, the characters somewhat one-dimensional and the writing overly preachy. True, Miller covers a lot of ground in this short work. I’m sad to say that I found this classic a bit disappointing.
  brianinbuffalo | Jun 9, 2021 |
Very powerful and moving. At the same time it is sad, scary and so applicable to modern life. ( )
  jemmatcf | Apr 12, 2021 |
This 1953 play concerns the events of the infamous Salem witch trials of 1692, and was intended by the author to draw an analogy with McCarthyism, which at that time was scarring US public discourse. Given that the witch trials resulted in deaths of innocent people, an even more appropriate comparison would be with the denunciatory atmosphere of Stalinism, especially in the purges of the late 1930s. Another contemporary (to us) comparison that came to my mind was with the political echo chambers that exist, especially on social media, on both the right and the left; as the modern day universal narrator says in Act 1: "A political policy is equated with moral right, and opposition to it with diabolical malevolence". The play is a gripping drama, with an unfolding air of suspicion and malice that ends up swallowing almost all of the main characters. Even discounting its political significance, it's a great piece of literature. ( )
  john257hopper | Mar 7, 2021 |
In preparation for the kids' covering it for lit. ( )
  mullinstreetzoo | Feb 12, 2021 |
Provocative, timely content mixed with a wildly inconsistent play format made this a mixed-bag read. It was engaging at an ideas level, but it frustrated me from a craft level. I want to see this performed to understand how they translate the pages and pages of contextual writing. ( )
  DrFuriosa | Dec 4, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 131 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (31 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Miller, ArthurAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bigsby, ChristopherIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bigsby, ChristopherIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dreyfuss, RichardNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Keach, StaceyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Watts, RichardIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wood, E. R.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Mary
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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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

"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."

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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.
Haiku summary
Brulez les sorcières! Elles mentent, désirent et trahissent... Pendez tous les hommes!

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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