Arthur Miller’s The Crucible is a play written in the 1950s about the Salem witch trials in 1692. Miller uses real people from history but, as we don’t know much about their personailities or lives outside of the trials, he fictionalises certain aspects of the story. The witchcraft accusations begin when Parris (the Reverand) spies Tituba, Betty and Abigail dancing in the woods and trying to participate in witchcraft.
We learn about an adulterous relationship between John Proctor and the young, unmarried Abigal. John denies any feelings for her and she becomes increasingly more upset and angered by it. She believes if John’s wife were out of the picture then she might have a chance of becoming his new wife. Abigail uses witchcraft accusations in an attempt to essentially murder Goody Proctor. We are also exposed to other people’s motives and what happens to them. The accusations lead to the imprisonment and death of many villagers.
Miller wrote the play during the 1950s during the Red Scare where many Americans were paranoid and scared of the threat of communism. He used the paranoia of the witch trials to comment on society in the 1950s, suggesting that people were similarly paranoid about the threat of communism during the fifties as they were of witchcraft in the seventeenth century.
I enjoyed reading The Crucible as the witch trials are a very interesting topic for me, and it was interesting – and scary! – to see the motives of the girls. I did, however, struggle with the format as I always wanted to know what was going to happen next and I often forgot to read who was saying what piece of dialogue!