The Crucible By Arthur Miller

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Benedict Campbell, Jim Mezon , Kelli Fox and Charlotte Gowdy in
The Crucible by Arthur Miller
Shaw Festival 2006 – Jackie Maxwell- Artistic Director

Submitted: November 08, 2007

A A A | A A A

Submitted: November 08, 2007



Benedict Campbell, Jim Mezon , Kelli Fox and Charlotte Gowdy in
The Crucible by Arthur Miller
Shaw Festival 2006 –Jackie Maxwell- Artistic Director
The Crucible one of Arthur Millar most popular play is set in Salem Massachusetts witch-hunt of 1692 is one of the” strongest and most awful chapters in human history” (Arthur Miller)
One definition of Crucible is a “severe test of patience and belief, or a trial.”
Miller’s The Crucible is the allegory of the Witch’s trial of 1092 and the McCarthyism (all suppression of Communism) of 1950.and Millar own response to the mad hysteria and irrational fear of Communism during the Cold War. During this time many people, men and women were being accused of having communists beliefs, criticized the government or they refused to compromise themselves or betray their friends they would be put in prison. The paranoia of communism resulted in the hearing of the House Committee and the Un-American Activities and where Miller himself was found guilty for showing Communist sympathies though the verdict was reversed in 1956.
While questioning the fairness of the Justice in Salem and that in U.S. in the 50’s Miller
brings out the fear and the mad hysteria of the mob triggered by greed and political and religious correctiveness, how “communities and nations “have been stirred into madness by superstition and madness, malice and ideological paranoia) “(Director: Tadeusz Bradecki). Moreover, Miller seems to suggest that this negative behavioralpattern repeats itself in history and humanity is incapable of learning and avoidmaking the same mistakes. However it is true that the witch-hunt in Salem did happen and still does happen in many places of the world and in sum we cannot do more but feel  compassion and pity for human nature men’s and women weaknesses inability to change or control the fatal course of events . “When one rises above the individual villainy displayed, one can only pity them all just as we shall be pitied some day. It is impossible for man to organize his social life without repression, and the balance has yet to be struck between order and freedom>”
Miller’s four Acts exposition is about Abigail Williams, a lovelorn teenager shunned by her married lover John Proctor. Abigail in love with John becomes spiteful in herrevenge she stirs an entire community into a blood thirsty craze showing how one person alone can create such mad hysteria to cause the death of so many innocent people. By her calculating and clever actions and deceitful personality, Abigail easily manipulates the mob accusing people of witchcraft.John Proctor for while believes he might be able avoid his private dilemma become exposed and public and avoid damage to his honorable name  until mendacious Abigail sets up John’s wife Elizabeth to be arrested under suspicion of witchcraft. John who has began to see the seriousness and terrifying power of false accusations goes to court trying to free his wife and the others but is accused of mixing with the devil and is arrested. The evil of greed false accusations and corruption of trials send many women to hang forcing John to question law and justice, in addition, to rise over adversity and stand for truth even to death.  Although John had wanted to keep distant from trial inspire of what he thought of himself or whether he was good or bad staff, however when Elizabeth was arrested he had no choice but become a part of it and learns what truth means through his own suffering. There are many theories as to why the witches trial, the most popular is girls suppressed childhood. The Puritan way of life was so restricted  and children were given little or no freedom to act like children,  to rebel they played pranks such as dancing in the woods listening to magic stories and pretending the other villagers were bewitching them. Some people hold the trial a result of Abigail’s affair with John Proctor; others think it was hostility among neighbors . There are others  who believe it was the social and economic difference between the citizens of Salem Village but no matter the theory , the The Crucible is Miller’s most staged play. The Crucible has come to be viewed as an intervention in the political culture of mid-century America,  a pattern in society where a sacrifice is demanded in order for the individual retain a sense of moral purpose , honesty,  and incorruptibility

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