Let’s Review: The Crucible

Hi everyone, I have been a TAG member for two years, but this is my first time writing for this blog! I apologize in advance that with school and everything else junior-year-y, I have not been reading very many books voluntarily, so I am going to do a summary/review/analysis of English III classics (and pray that it doesn’t bore anyone). Yes, summaries are found on SparkNotes and CliffsNotes (lifesavers) but here is a more personalized review with some hopefully helpful insights into the novels not found in those websites alone. I recommend any current or future English III students to give it a read.

First off is the play The Crucible by Arthur Miller. I will spare you the mere summary (again, found on SparkNotes) and move on with the analysis of this play. Miller was a playwright whose early works were funded by the New Deal. He also was Marilyn Monroe’s husband from 1956-1961, and we see Miller paint himself as John Proctor, the protagonist. Miller was involved in a scandal during his marriage to Monroe which led to their divorce. Likewise, Proctor has a secret affair with his family’s former housemaid Abigail (a much younger girl who ultimately becomes the main accuser of witchcraft), leading to an unstable relationship with his wife Elizabeth, but unlike Miller the two try to become better spouses and ultimately forgive each other. The play itself is set in late 17th century Massachusetts Bay during the hysteria known as the Salem Witch Trials. Miller published this book in 1953 as a response to the Red Scare at the time, a time when Americans feared that their neighbors were communists. Both the witch trials and the Red Scare are characterized by mob mentality, a form of mass hysteria as more and more people jump on the bandwagon of near insanity. Much of the events in the play are driven by Puritan ideals (for example, Puritans believed children could not lie and therefore trusted the “testimonies” of young girls such as Abigail) and greed of neighbors trying to gain property (by accusing someone of witchcraft and taking their land). In the end, the town realizes its mistake in sentencing so many of its people to death for witchcraft; however, it is much too late and the innocent lives cannot be returned.

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