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The place is Salem, Massachusetts, in 1692, an enclave of rigid piety huddled on the edge of a wilderness. Its inhabitants believe unquestioningly in their own sanctity. But in Arthur Miller's edgy masterpiece, that very belief will have poisonous consequences when a vengeful teenager accuses a rival of witchcraft-and then when those accusations multiply to consume the entire village. First produced in 1953, at a time when America was convulsed by a new epidemic of witchhunting, The Crucible brilliantly explores the threshold between individual guilt and mass hysteria, personal spite and collective evil. It is a play that is not only relentlessly suspenseful and vastly moving but that compels readers to fathom their hearts and consciences in ways that only the greatest theater ever can. "A drama of emotional power and impact" -New York Post Â
About The Author Arthur Miller was born in New York City in 1915 and studied at the University of Michigan. His plays include All My Sons (1947), Death of a Salesman (1949), The Crucible (1953), A View from the Bridge and A Memory of Two Mondays (1955), After the Fall (1963), Incident at Vichy (1964), The Price (1968), The Creation of the
World and Other Business (1972) and The American Clock. He has also written two novels, Focus (1945), and The Misfits, which was filmed in 1960, and the text for In Russia (1969), Chinese Encounters (1979), and In the Country (1977), three books of photographs by his wife, Inge Morath. More recent works include a memoir, Timebends (1987), and the plays The Ride Down Mt. Morgan (1991), The Last Yankee (1993), Broken Glass (1993), which won the Olivier Award for Best Play of the London Season, and Mr. Peter's Connections (1998). His latest book is On Politics and the Art of Acting. Miller was granted with the 2001 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. He has twice won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award, and in 1949 he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize.
Reviews At once an allegory of the 1950s' anti-communist witch hunts and a spotlight on seventeenth-century witch trials in Salem, Massachusetts, this play shows how ignorance and good intentions can interweave to destroy lives. The star-studded cast ratchets the tension to a disturbing level as the town disintegrates. The young girls playing at witchcraft shriek in irregular counterpoint to the quiet, terrifying judgments rendered by Reverend Harris (Michael York), and doubt is ever more audible in the voice of Reverend Hale (Richard Dreyfuss). Most moving is Stacy Keach as John Proctor, who fights to salvage some good from the trials that destroy Salem.
In both The Piano Lesson and The Crucible trust is an important theme. In both of them the first way it is shown is in false accusations. Throughout The Crucible trust is important as everyone in the village begins to accuse each other of being witches after Betty Parris, Abigail Williams, a slave woman named Tituba and two of the other girls from the village were seen dancing in the woods, which seemed to cause Betty Parris to become possessed. This causes a lot of discord and many people to falsely accuse each other of being a witch and blame shift in order to get out of being executed. Similarly in The Piano Lesson there is false accusation as Bernice accuses Boy Willie of pushing Sutter into the well. This distrust is very harsh especially because Boy Willie is her brother. False accusations in both these books show how the lack of trust in any relationship will tear people apart whether it is large scale like a whole village or a brother and sister. Another example of the effects of trust is in the lack of trust as in The Crucible with the marriage of John Proctor. His marriage is very broken up because of the lack of trust in it caused by his affair with Abigail. At one point the author emphasizes this in having Proctor add spice to his soup which may have been a parallel to the lack of spice in his marriage. In The Piano Lesson this is seen also as Bernice refuses to listen to anything that Boy Willie has to say because she does not trust him on account of his history with the law as he was sent to Parchman Prison Farm. Doaker doesn't trust Boy Willie's idea as well but not because of his prison record but because he doesn't trust Sutter. Both these examples show that a lack of trust can sometimes be a good thing as they are well deserved and a good safety precaution but they can also build a barrier between people. The third lesson about trust learned in both these books is not to take advantage of it. In The Crucible many people took advantage of the fact that they would be trusted and believed as the accusation of being a witch was passed on very quickly as one person would just accuse another and everyone would believe them and want to kill that person. As well the situation with John Proctor also shows trust being taken advantage of when he has an affair with Abigail breaking the trust between him and his wife. In The Piano Lesson Boy Willie putting himself out on a limb to buy the Sutter property, causes his trust in the fact that he will not be taken advantage of, to be an opportunity to cheat him out of a good deal on the property. The trust he puts in the property is taken advantage of as Sutter will undoubtedly charge him a higher price than it is worth. Both of these books give important lessons in trust, it is important to make sure you trust the right people and to not take advantage of that trust when it is given to you.
Since I was a little girl I've been interested in witch stories and everything related. Not in the Harry Potter kind of way, but in the more realistic; the witch hunts in medieval time Europe, the people hanged and burnt at the stake and the Salem Witch Trials. Because I was a little girl who loved to watch TV documentaries, my knowledge in those
subjects was fed by channels like Discovery and later History. I'd never read before an actual book about this, like I've done with other historic matters of my interest, until some weeks ago, all the information I wanted to know was looked up in the internet. One day I was looking up for books at Amazon.com like I usually do, when I came up with this play, a classic of American Literature by Arthur Miller (may he rest in peace), based in the Salem Witch Trials of 1962. As I normally do, I did research on the book and thought about it. It wasn't until some weeks ago I finally acquired it. I just finished reading The Crucible some days ago and I absolutely adored it. I think Mr. Miller did an excellent job bringing the characters and the story back to live. The historical accuracy of the play is not precise, for he fused some characters into one, increased and decreased the characters' ages, reduced the number of girls involved and developed the characters' personalities to relate among others. Above all this, he made of the play a masterpiece, just like he did with the 1996 screenplay for the film version starring Daniel Day-Lewis and , one of my favorite actresses, Winona Ryder, who I must admit did an excellent job portraying her first antagonist role, Abigail Williams. It's a shame the box-office numbers didn't match the great critics the film received. Back on praising the play, one of the things it fascinated me the most was the language used, which was taken out of the King James Bible. I absolutely loved how the dialogues showed in a beautiful way the relationships between the characters, whether they were lovers, family or enemies. Through all the play, I was in Abigail Williams' side. I don't know if it was because Winona did an excellent job in the role, or I just had fun with the way she "sported", to say it in her words, with everyone, and how she controlled the rest of the people. Historically speaking, Abby was a twelve year old orphan that accused town people of witchcraft, contrary to the seventeen year old girl of the play. Miller increased Abigail's age to allow the plot device of the relationship with John Proctor, whose age was decreased from 60 to 30. The story begins with the girls doing some kind of "ritual" in the woods. (this part is just mentioned in the play, but it is shown in the film)The Reverend finds them. Rumors of witchcraft start to fly, when some girls can't wake up. The presence of the Devil in Salem is feared. From there the plot keeps developing, accusations start and town people are arrested. Along the story a lot of people turn their backs at each other to save themselves. At the end of the play the accused citizens remaining are hanged. Even though I absolutely enjoyed reading The Crucible, I wouldn't recommend this to somebody that likes reading teenage love stories or is looking for a light, short book, for it is very dark and complex. If someone wants to read this, I think he or she should read about the subject first or watch some documentary to get familiar with the subject. Watching the film is a great visual help.
If you plan on reading said book, think otherwise. it is not suitable for kids or for any other age group. it is very preverted and talks about sex and the devil.. ALOT! if you want to read something boring try the dictionary. i put 1 because 0 was not available
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