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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.
I enjoyed the story very much! Throughout the play, the reader is on the edge of his or her seat, waiting to see what happens next. This play is one that readers of all ages can enjoy! It reveals how much damage can come out of jealousy, hatred and narrow thinking. My friends and I all enjoyed it!
The Crucible is about the Salem Witch Trials that occurred in Salem, Massachusetts. Things get out of and when a few girls from the town are seen 'dancing and conjuring up spririts'. People began to get accused of witchcraft and the town's structure begins to detoriate. Then, to make things worse, it is revealed that one of the girls involved in the chaos is in love with a married man. In order to try and obtain his love, she won't let anything get in her way.<BR/> The Crucible has a decent storyline, in my opinion, but it didn't really present it to my liking. I felt as though the only 'action' in it, was when people argued. It was a little slow-paced for me. I suppose, overall, it is a good read, it just wasn't my favorite. It's worth going though once.
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