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The Crucible (1953)
door Arthur Miller
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For the obvious witchunt reasons. Am writing this in 2010 and the script is obviously still very relevant. Well done Miller. ( )
Read for grade 11 English. Interesting because of the subject matter but frustrating characters.
I'm glad I read this book. It was not required of me in high school, because other classics were assigned. I wish I had been required to read it since I was quite religious then. It stirred up anger in me now at the institution's injustice and the people's willingness to participate in evil, while calling themselves good.
Never before have I a read a play that so well communicated the frenzied action and emotions of the characters on stage. Arthur Miller’s The Crucible is a tragedy and as a result, most scenes descend into a madness of emotion as events spiral out of the control of the characters. The play is based on the Salem witch trials of the 1700s where twenty citizens of Salem were hanged. I’ve read the play isn’t too historically accurate in terms of character’s roles in the actual trials, but the overall plot is right.
John Proctor, the main protagonist, has had an affair with Abigail Williams, a 17-year-old girl who was a housekeeper for his wife. This eventually comes out in private conversation, then in public court, after Abigail is caught dancing in the woods with several other girls and a Barbados slave, Tituba. Several of the girls appear to be under some kind of spell, and the girls and Tituba eventually confess to summoning the dead and the devil: practicing witchcraft.
One thing leads to another and others in the community, often the most upstanding, moral members of the community, are accused of witchcraft by the girls, led by Abigail (the girls “confess” they saw these people with Lucifer himself). Miller makes it clear these are lies. Abigail confesses that Proctor’s wife is a witch in order to get rid of her to have him for herself. In the liner notes of the edition I read, Miller makes it pretty clear that this play is an allegory for the McCarthyism of the 1930s and 40s, and the actions of the House Un-American Activities Committee (Miller was questioned by this committee in the 40s). Within the play, those accused of witchcraft are assumed guilty until proven innocent: denying the accusation has the penalty of hanging, while “confessing” (lying) the sin of witchcraft means the accused goes free. The McCarthy parallels are evident.
Like I said, this play communicates frenzied, manic dialogue unlike any other play I’ve read. Each act starts with a small group of characters, two or three, and builds to a frenetic point that made me almost anxious as I read it. I can’t imagine what it would be like to watch this in production. I’ll take that opportunity the first chance I get.
Liked it more than I expected. Have never seen the play, but I really enjoyed reading it.
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50 Best Plays of the American Theatre [4-volume set] door Clive Barnes (indirect)
Miller Plays 1: All My Sons / Death of a Salesman / The Crucible / A Memory of Two Mondays / A View from the Bridge door Arthur Miller
Collected Plays door Arthur Miller (indirect)
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Arthur Miller's The Crucible, A Memory of Two Mondays, A View from the Bridge, After the Fall, and Incident at Vichy (Monarch Notes) door Joan Thellusson Nourse
The Crucible - Hexenjagd von Arthur Miller: Textanalyse und Interpretation mit ausführlicher Inhaltsangabe und Abituraufgaben mit Lösungen door Arthur Miller
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Wikipedia in het Engels (1)
"I believe that the reader will discover here the essential nature of one of the strangest and most awful chapters in human history," Arthur Miller wrote in an introduction to The Crucible, his classic play about the witch-hunts and trials in seventeenth-century Salem, Massachusetts. Based on historical people and real events, Miller's drama is a searing portrait of a community engulfed by hysteria. In the rigid theocracy of Salem, rumors that women are practicing witchcraft galvanize the town's most basic fears and suspicions; and when a young girl accuses Elizabeth Proctor of being a witch, self-righteous church leaders and townspeople insist that Elizabeth be brought to trial. The ruthlessness of the prosecutors and the eagerness of neighbor to testify against neighbor brilliantly illuminate the destructive power of socially sanctioned violence. Written in 1953, The Crucible is a mirror Miller uses to reflect the anti-communist hysteria inspired by Senator Joseph McCarthy's witch-hunts in the United States. Within the text itself, Miller contemplates the parallels, writing: "Political opposition ... is given an inhumane overlay, which then justifies the abrogation of all normally applied customs of civilized behavior. A political policy is equated with moral right, and opposition to it meets with diabolical malevolence."
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Dewey Decimale Classificatie (DDC)812.52 — Literature English (North America) American drama 20th Century 1900-1945
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Een editie van dit boek werd gepubliceerd door Penguin Australia.