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"The Crucible" by Arthur Miller

Malte279

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Today I finished reading a book for university which, unlike many of the books I have to read for the uni at the moment (restauration comedies in particular), I found really very intriguing.
It is a play actually, "The Crucible" by Arthur Miller. The play is based on the Salem witchhunt of 1692 and while some details were changed (the age of a character, and some characters picking up the roles of several historical people) it is mostly true to historical events. However it is not primarily history which impressed me so much about this book, but really the way it is written. Especially the way the character Proctor is presented is really excellent. A person who with many faults, not the hero type of guy, nobody who wants to be a martyr, but ultimately making a right decission which made him one. The pathos is not so overstressed though as in most similar cases I'm aware of in literature.
The main "villain" (for lack of a better word. She is very viscious, so villain may actually be pretty close to the mark) is just terrifiying in her ruthlessness and with her cold blooded calculating on how to doom anyone she doesn't like or else whose doom will ehance her own credibility as a wittness to the court.
There are many mare character neither just black or white but of very interesting grey shades.
While in almost every case I prefer books over movies the latter are more likely (and that means not very likely) to actually move me to tears (I suppose it is mostly the music that can have this effect). I couldn't spontaneously recall any book having that effect on me so far, but especially the last two acts of this play really came very close to move me to tears.

The historical authencity of most of the play enhances the effect as far as I'm concerned. Also, it was written in the early 1950s undoubtedly not so much as a play about events in history, but rather as a piece of social criticism of what was going on by the time the play was written. It was the time of the second red scare, better known as the McCarthy era, when the suspicion of any ties to communism could land a person in jail, or worse. It seems really perverse, that the author Arthur Miller, when interogated about his alleged ties to communism, was asked to denounce anyone he knew whom he thought had communist ideals or connections, to improve his own situation. This is exactly the same proceeding as was commited during the Salem witch trials were people accused of witchcraft just had to "confess" and denounce others to be send to jail rather than being executed.


Petrie.

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I read that my junior year of high school, so forgive me if I've forgotten most of it. :P:  I remember reading that and I remember thinking I wanted Amelia (if that's the girl's name who always is having "fits") to just go jump in a river or something, but that's another historical perpetation--Puritans were highly religious.  Given the chance, this probably would not have been so unusual for these people to be concerned.  Nice irony on the title as well since Proctor was always in a crucible because he could not really come out on the girls without putting his wife and himself in danger.

I didn't remember the year in which it was written, but I'm positive your analysis is correct.  People will say anything to get out of an uneasy situation if it meant you would be ok for another day.  Yeah its cruel, yes people are selfish, but you just don't know the feeling until you're put into such a situation.


Malte279

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Abigail is the name of the girl you want to see in a river Petrie  :lol:
She's the one who mainly started all these accusations and is calculating e.g. by accusing the wife of Proctor whom she is in love with. She is also the character whose age (to explain the love bit) has been modifid to 16 while the historical Abigail was eleven by that time. The other girls involved in this first were also just nine respectively twelve years old (later two 20 year olds and several younger joined). Get this, a bunch of children playing with the lives of the people around!
However religious the puritans were (that is VERY religious) it is not like there were no doubts even back then about the whole proceedings which (apart from getting innocent people killed) really ruined the countryside as with many people killed, jailed, or fleeing nobody was there to keep their estades in order.
While the belief in witchcraft is deeply rooted in protestantism (Martin Luther was going on about witchcraft) it is mainly the catholics and the inquisition who are usually thought of when witch trials are mentioned.


lbt/cty_lover

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I'm reading "The Crucible" for english right now.



Manny Cav

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Quote from: DarkHououmon,Nov 28 2007 on  03:53 PM
I never heard of it.
Ditto.


Malte279

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I guess most people (myself included) wouldn't usually read plays in their free time. This one however was quite impressive in my opinion.


Cancerian Tiger

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"The Crucible" is a play based on the events of the Salem Witch Trials.  Y'all wanna know something interesting?  I went to school up North with a girl who is a descendant of Rebecca Nurse, one of the individuals tried and executed in the S.W.T's :yes.