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The Crucible: A Play in Four Acts

3.54  ·  Rating Details ·  245,161 Ratings  ·  5,159 Reviews
The enduring classic drama of the Salem witch trials was inspired by the political witch-hunting activities of Senator Joseph McCarthy in the '50s. Though set in the 17th century, "The Crucible" presents issues still gnawing at modern society.
Paperback, 176 pages
Published October 1st 1995 by Penguin Classics (first published 1953)
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Michael Headrick It is a criticism of McCarthy's tactics because in both The Crucible and the "The Red Scare," those that were accused and didn't want to be hung
It is a criticism of McCarthy's tactics because in both The Crucible and the "The Red Scare," those that were accused and didn't want to be hung
(The Crucible), or put in jail (The Red Scare), confessed and blamed someone else so they could feel like they got off without any form of criticism or punishment.(less)
Lisa I'm not sure I completely understand your question, but here is my answer based on what I see. In the Puritan world of the 1600s, no women did not…moreI'm not sure I completely understand your question, but here is my answer based on what I see. In the Puritan world of the 1600s, no women did not have any power or voice in the community. Children had even less power than women did, but in Salem, at that time, the children were heard and they were asked for their opinions and given a great deal of power. They chose who was accused and who was not. It was an extremely intoxicating combination. Arthur Miller took a great many liberties while writing the play and often times confused true reality with his own version (as can be seen in his interviews regarding the play). This play needs to be considered Historical Fiction. It revolves around a real time, a true tragedy, and highlights humans who lived through the Salem Witch Trials, but Abigail was a girl of about 12 and did not have an affair with John Proctor, almost all of the girl's ages were advanced for the story, and much of the scandal around Parris was also exaggerated. Going back to history, once the girls (and their parents) realized what accusing neighboring land owners of witch craft could gain them, the accusations ran rampant. Children learned to manipulate situations to garner more attention from their parents, and parents learned to manipulate their children into accusing more and more people for increased wealth. Arthur Miller used this time in history to show a resemblance to the Red Scare of the 1950s. If you were accused of witchcraft in the 1600s, your land was forfeit when you were hung, and your family lost everything, but if you confessed, you essentially got your life back. In the 1950s, if you were accused of being a Communist, your livelihood was destroyed (think Charlie Chaplin), but if you gave up a couple more names, your name got taken off the Black List. My apologies for a very long-winded answer, but I wasn't sure exactly what you were looking for, and I hope this helps.(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Deborah Markus
I hate to rate this so low when it seems that the only people who do so are those forced to read it by a cruel teacher. I'm even more troubled by the fact that I haven't seen anyone else bring up what bothers me about this play.

Yes, it's well written -- that is, the dialogue is expertly handled. There are truly beautiful passages, such as this one:

I came into this village like a bridegroom to his beloved, bearing gifts of high religion; the very crowns of holy law I brought, and what I touched w
Dec 09, 2008 Manny rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a magnificent play about what happens when hysteria takes over a society, and evil people gain access to the levers of power; something, alas, which happens all too frequently.

The focus of the story is John Proctor's struggle to redeem himself from the horrible guilt he has suffered since committing adultery with Abigail. This is indeed very moving. But, for some reason, the part I think of most often is a detail concerning one of the minor characters, Giles Corey, who dies offstage half
Nandakishore Varma
Recently, a group of students allegedly shouted anti-India slogans at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in Delhi, and the political and religious conservatives in India went virtually mad. Soon, any criticism of India was seen as unpatriotic and traitorous. The JNU, a leftist stronghold and a thorn in the flesh of the Hindu Right-Wing government at the centre, was termed a positive hotbed of crime and vice and a recruiting ground for terrorists. Many a Muslim, unless he wore his love of Indi ...more
"I’ll tell you what’s walking Salem—-vengeance is walking Salem. We are what we always were in Salem, but now the little crazy children are jangling the keys of the kingdom, and common vengeance writes the law!"

Such is the power of those noticeable quotes in Arthur Miller's play The Crucible; the power to cause the audience to question the issues arising when vengeance is allowed to write common law. Arthur Miller's play was created to be challenging for this very purpose.

This was written at a
Oct 18, 2014 Melki rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays, best-of-2014
" - the Devil is alive in Salem, and we dare not quail to follow wherever the accusing finger points!"

Though Miller claims to have had an abiding interest in the Salem Witch Trials, we all know this play was written as a gigantic Screw You! to Senator Joseph McCarthy and his investigations into alleged Un-American activities. The amazing thing is how well the play works on its own. Even if you know nothing of McCarthyism, you will still be moved by the plight of a small Massachusetts village w
A fascinating exploration of the consequences of unquestioned power, though an awful portrayal of women. I appreciated Arthur Miller bringing attention to the Salem Witch Trials and anti-communist hysteria. I hated how he treated Abigail and the other female characters in this story as crazy and antagonizing. Yes, Abigail's actions posed major problems - but Miller portrays John Proctor, the man who has illicit sex with her, as a martyr. Miller grants the men in this play complexity and autonomy ...more
Jul 04, 2007 pinkgal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics_plays
It was one of those rare books that are forced upon you and then when you read it, you fall. Hard. While Miller might have written it with the McCarthy Era in mind, it applies very well to the current era of singling out a group of people and labeling them as 'evil'. I reread it a few months back and it still gave me the chills. Proof of what the power of fear has. I'd recommend this to anyone and everyone, though if you're not one for symbolism and parallels, this might not work as well. ;)
Mar 26, 2017 Tristan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“We are what we always were in Salem, but now the little crazy children are jangling the keys of the kingdom, and common vengeance writes the law!”

There is a remarkably harrowing scene in Frank Darabont’s expertly executed 2007 film adaptation of Stephen King’s lovecraftian novella The Mist.

The stage for this particular drama to unfold:

A group of denizens of a small rural town are holed up in a grocery store, enveloped by a mysterious, impossibly thick mist. To venture outside is inadvisable, s
Kate ~SuPeRhErO~
**Are you a witch? Would you survive the hysteria of the Salem Witch Trials?

Find out with the following quiz!**

If you are single, you are a witch.

If you are homeless, you are a witch.

If you are a midwife, you are a witch.

If you have dolls, you are a witch.

If you look funny, you are a witch.

If you look at someone else funny, you are a witch.

If you are a woman, you are a witch.

If someone hates you, you are a witch.

If a child dies and the mother knows you, you are a witch.

If you are not a witch, y
To start off 2016, I decided that chance should pick my first read. So I got my Book Jar off the shelf and asked my little brother to draw for me...and this is what he came up with. I was a bit disappointed because I was sure it would be boring, but it proved a pleasant surprise because I enjoyed myself a lot!

If anyone had recommended this to me saying "Anne, you're going to love this heretic 17th century play about a village that goes crazy and starts putting random people in jail. You'll laugh
Ahmad Sharabiani
The Crucible: a play in four acts, Arthur Miller
بوته ی آزمایش؛ نمایشنامه ای در چهار پرده است و با چهار عنوان به فارسی برگردان شده؛ نمایشنامه نخستینبار در 1952 و پس از آن بارها با اجراهای گوناگون روی صحنه آمده است، از ژرفترین درامهای جهان پساز جنگِ دوّم جهانگیر و اثری کلاسیک در نمایشنامهنویسی ِ مدرن است؛ داستان محاکمات جادوگری در سیلم ، در سالهای 1692 تا 1693 میلادی در ماساچوست آمریکا ست؛
عنوانها: جادوگران شهر سالم؛ ساحره سوزان؛ چشم اندازی از پل و گذر از آزمون؛ آزمون آنشین؛ نویسنده: آرتور میلر؛
ReadLikeWildFire ReadLikeWildFire
Rating: 4.6

Review *Mild Spoilers*:

The Crucible by Arthur Miller conveys the corruption of society, and the manipulation someone can cause that affects all aspect of the preservation of a fragile society.

So, i had to read this book for Lit, and so i was all:



So Before i bore you with my actual review, here are my reactions to the book through gifs.

Abigail sentencing Elizabeth:


When Danforth offered to see Mary Warren's side:


Mr Putnam killing of his foes for land:


Rebecca Nurse not confessing:


John R
Oct 01, 2007 Catherine rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: High School Juniors (because the state says so)
Arthur Miller's scathing indictment of 50's era McCarthyism was more interesting than I thought it would be.
Miller set the piece in Salem, MA during the infamous 1692 witch trials.
The play itself is divided into four acts and features the struggles individual villagers face as they are confronted with a hellish choice between hanging for witchcraft or falsely confessing, a choice which leads to the death of others.

The action is driven by a posse of teenage girls. In order to escape punishment
Dec 04, 2008 Kierstin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kierstin by: Historic People
"Bleh. Just... bleh. I definitely did NOT enjoy reading this in the eighth grade, nor will I EVER like reading it in the years to come!"

That was the review I wrote right after finishing it three years ago from now (2010).

After reading it a second time for my junior year, now I can at least understand the text! Schools often make kids read literature that is too mature for their age group, and I have come to find that even a single year's difference can make or break one's comprehension of the bo
Another baaad Artie Miller metaphor. It doesnt take a
lot of deep-think to explain Why. Folklore-friendly Miller
sloppily sees the hysterical McCarthy Era of the 50s as a parallel to the Salem witch hunts of the 17thC. Aye, here's the rub : We know that "witches" do not exist. We know that Communists did exist, worked in US government. Were Russ spies. So, any matchup w Salem is cockeyed mellercuckoo. Does this understanding require intelligence?
So a load of London theatres are doing this fantastic thing where they film West End and other professionally-produced plays, and then you go along to your local cinema on one or two nights and watch. From a producer's perspective, it makes astonishingly good sense: with a play, you're limited by how many people you can fit in the theatre, and if you hoick the prices up to £50 for a seat in the gods, you're going to get called elitist. For people like me, it's also great because London is a bit ...more
Nov 27, 2016 Merna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
It’s a very underwhelming play. I think it’s mostly because you know which direction the play is heading towards, so you don’t expect anything. I think this play is primarily to be judged by its analogy (and allegory) to McCarthyism. Was it a good analogy? Did it make me think deeply about the mass hysteria and its implications? I can merely say that I now have an example to use every time mass hysteria grips a nation or the world. “Stop being hysterical. This all like the Salem witch trials. It ...more
This sure was a bizarre read. I know (knew?) nothing of the witch hunts that occurred in Salem, but I am certainly going to read more about them after finishing this. I kept thinking to myself that surely people weren't really like this, but according to other people's reviews, they were. History truly is remarkable - and that's certainly not always a good thing.
Dannii Elle
“Because it is my name! Because I cannot have another in my life! Because I lie and sign myself to lies! Because I am not worth the dust on the feet of them that hang! How may I live without my name? I have given you my soul; leave me my name!”

This was one of the most powerful stories I have ever had the pleasure of reading. Although pleasure does not seem an apt word to summarize this reading experience. Haunting, poignant, intoxicating, distressing, portentous- these adjectives are much more s
Sep 25, 2007 Jeanne rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
What can I say? I hated this. I hated it when I read it in high school, and I hate it now.

So, Arthur Miller allegedly wrote this in response to the McCarthy era, which we all know was the witch hunt of the 1950s. And, instead of setting it in the 1950s, he set his play in the time of the Salem witch trials. Clever, no?

And this is why the play is so unreadable. Who wants to read a play that takes place in the 17th century? Who wants to read about characters known as Goody Nurse and Goody Proctor?
Dec 28, 2015 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Still powerful and sorrowful all these years later. Since the story was written as a play, I don't have any misgivings about recommending the excellent 1996 movie version starring Winona Ryder and Daniel Day-Lewis. A must read/see.
Dec 12, 2015 Jana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a really good play! I don't read many plays and sometimes struggle with them, but I really enjoyed this so I might want to check out more plays :D
I never actually read this in school; however, I was very familiar with the storyline itself. The Crucible. What is there to say that hasn’t already been said?

This story was based on historical people and real events and was a very authentic depiction of paranoid and hysterical people in a tiny village. Despite knowing this was mostly factual, it was still hard to imagine such an unfortunate situation occurring. This village had laws established but it blew me away how everything was handled. Th
Oct 27, 2015 electrise rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: disco-inferno
love dearly, will never understand how people say with a straight face that it's boring. no dude. your teacher was boring. the text is fire (fire hellfire).
Sep 14, 2007 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love this play and yet am doomed to never EVER see a good production of it. Are there good productions of it? Or is it something that is somehow only exciting on the page? Which is especially weird for a play. But that's been my experience with it over the last 12 years or so since I read it the first time and fell in love with it. For whatever reason, I didn't read this one in high school or college (lived under a rock, apparently!), so finally read it when I was auditioning for a production ...more
Mar 11, 2008 Nightfalltwen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays-or-poetry
I do have to say that seeing this play preformed is ultimately and unequivocally more rewarding than reading it from a book. The emotions of the actors on stage (I saw it on stage before I read it and long before it was made into a movie) brings the words to life.

That said, this is such a haunting tale. I know it was written right during the whole McCarthyism era in the USA and comparing the communist accusations to the Salem witch hunts is one of the best parallels I have seen.

You see how it al
Addison Walker
I personally did not enjoy this book because although I find the Salem Witch Trials fascinating, I did not enjoy the characters or the plot of the book. I think I partially did not like it either because it was hard for me to understand the confines of Puritan life. As hard as I tried to put myself into the positions of the characters, their choices always seemed to frustrate me. On the other hand, I did find the book somewhat interesting because it dealt with the hysteria of the Witch Trials wh ...more
Wow... Tahle kniha mi zlomila srdce. Dokonalé. Fakt dokonalé. Nemám slov. A film je taky boží. Chtěla jsem jen menší výzkum k článku o hře Town of Salem a nakonec se z toho vyklubala zatím nejlepší kniha tohohle roku. ♥♥♥ Marry me, John Proctor.
Devon Kelly
Painful memories of having to endure this book in highschool.....
Oct 27, 2016 Mel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just rated this 3 stars because I read it in High School and remembered enjoying it a little bit.
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Arthur Asher Miller was an American playwright and essayist. He was a prominent figure in American literature and cinema for over 61 years, writing a wide variety of plays, including celebrated plays such as The Crucible, A View from the Bridge, All My Sons, and Death of a Salesman, which are still studied and performed worldwide. Miller was often in the public eye, most famously for refusing to g ...more
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“Until an hour before the Devil fell, God thought him beautiful in Heaven.” 389 likes
“Because it is my name! Because I cannot have another in my life! Because I lie and sign myself to lies! Because I am not worth the dust on the feet of them that hang! How may I live without my name? I have given you my soul; leave me my name!” 340 likes
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