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The Crucible

3.59  ·  Rating details ·  329,969 ratings  ·  7,857 reviews
"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 of 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 th ...more
Paperback, Penguin Classics (US/CAN), 143 pages
Published March 25th 2003 by Penguin Books (first published 1953)
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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 hav…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)
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
(The …more
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)

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Deborah Markus
Mar 18, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
JOHN PROCTOR: What... what are we doing here? Where are we?

ELIZABETH PROCTOR: We're in a review, John.


JOHN HALE: Yes, a review. Newt Gingrich has been encouraging people to read The Crucible. We've agreed to help him.

SAMUEL PARRIS: It's our duty, John. We're in the middle of the second worst witch hunt in American history.

JOHN PROCTOR: The second worst?

SAMUEL PARRIS: Yes, the second worst. After what's going to happen to Donald Trump in 2017. But at least our case is rem
Amalia Gkavea
Jun 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A masterpiece in the history of can one put into words all the feelings that come to surface when you read The Crucible? What makes it even more shuttering, is the fact that it has always been relevant to any era, because it represents the fear in front of something we cannot understand, and the need to create witch-hunts in order to cover up our own faults as human beings and as members of our socities.

John Proctor is the Everyman, he stands for every human being that is -rightfu
Ahmad Sharabiani
The Crucible: a play in four acts, Arthur Miller

The Crucible is a 1953 play by American playwright Arthur Miller. Miller wrote the play as an allegory for McCarthyism, when the United States government persecuted people accused of being communists.

In 1692, in the small town of Salem (Massachusetts), rumor has it that a young woman has done an obscene curse. The inhabitants accuse each other and fall prey to an unstoppable mass hysteria, and then a trial begins that may lead to fearsome revenge
Dec 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
• Lindsey Dahling •
Apr 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I may be in the minority here, but I love me a female villain that has little to no redeemable qualities. Not even kidding. This could be because *almost* every single thing Americans read in high school involves a male narrator (TKAM is the exception, and Scout Finch is a tomboy, so...) surrounded by terrible women whose sole purpose is to somehow ruin the man’s life.

Why do I love these despicable women? Because it’s fun finding reasons they’re motivated to be awful while everyone else in the
Feb 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
“Because it is my name! Because I cannot have another in my life.”

"The Crucible" is many things. A piece of great American theatre, a gift to actors, and a wonderful read! One thing it is not is a piece of history, so be warned. Too many people read this as a historical text, despite Arthur Miller's explicit instructions in the play's notes to not do so, and thus they miss the forest for the trees. This is not an examination of the Salem Witch Trials, but rather a fictional rendering of a histor
Mar 11, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 1-fiction
Book Review
I may be a little unpopular with my 3 of 5 stars rating for The Crucible, a play by Arthur Miller, but in my world, a 3 means it's your generally good book/play/movie with some great things, some bad things, and an overall "yeah, you should probably read it."

The topic: Salem Witch Trials, one of my absolute favorite time periods in American history to research. Miller is brilliant, I acknowledge it. He bring suspense, timing and charisma in everything he does. But when thi
Nandakishore Varma
May 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
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
Johann (jobis89)
Nov 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“The Devil is precise; the marks of his presence are definite as stone...”

Based on historical people and real events, The Crucible is a searing portrait of a community engulfed by hysteria.

The Crucible provides such an interesting insight into the mass hysteria and paranoia brewing in Salem, Massachusetts in the seventeenth century. Although, perhaps watching a production of this play would be more enthralling than reading it. I was tad bored at times and it took me far longer than it should to
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
Maria Clara
Estoy sin palabras... Realmente estremece ver hasta dónde es capaz de llegar la gente por estupidez, envidia y lujuria. Pero lo que más me ha gustado ha sido la fuerza moral de Proctor; impresionante.
Jonathan Terrington
"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
Oct 18, 2014 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
Jun 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: classics, play
"Oh, the noose, the noose is up!"

What an intense and disturbing read!

The crucible is a play written by Arthur Miller in 1953, about the destructive nature of superstition, ignorance, fear, corruption, greed and vengeance. It is ostensibly based on the witch trials in Salem in the seventeenth century, but is truly inspired by the persecutions of communists and “unAmericans” by Senator McCarthy.
Aug 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'll never stop thinking about this... it was incredible ...more
Timothy Urges
Jul 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
When it is recalled that until the Christian era the underworld was never regarded as a hostile area, that all gods were useful and essentially friendly to man despite occasional lapses; when we see the steady and methodical inculcation into humanity of the idea of man’s worthlessness—until redeemed—the necessity of the Devil may become evident as a weapon, a weapon designed and used time and time again in every age to whip men into a surrender to a particular church or church-state.

Jun 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
Preparing to watch a performance of The Crucible on stage, I start to feel almost nauseous.

When I read Arthur Miller's play some twenty years ago, the kind of witch hunts he described could technically be seen as a distant or not-so-distant past, depending on whether you looked at them as the actual Salem events or as a paraphrase on the McCarthy era, but they were definitely past!

Now, however, the waters are increasingly muddy, and the hunters yell "witch hunt" while burning innocents for thei
Jul 04, 2007 rated it really liked it
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. ;) ...more
Dave Schaafsma
May 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“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!”—Proctor

One of the major plays in the canon of American theatre, which is probably why the Goodreads average is so low for it: If you are forced to read it in school, or maybe it’s the way it is taught, or that you have to take tests about it? But having t
What a gripping story. This could be redone into a dystopian YA novel and it is set in history. It is a powerful work. How terrifying it is that people can be so brutal to each other. A very dark bit of American history. Not the best story to read during 45. I hope we don't repeat this sort of history. The story is good and it leaves me in a dark mood. I don't think I'll read this again and I'm glad of the reminder of it. I need something lighter now. ...more
K. Elizabeth
So, so good. Eerie. Entertaining. I really want to see this acted out now!
Brett C
Jun 19, 2020 rated it really liked it

I enjoyed rereading this one. Again, for me this was a book I overlooked in high school because I was too busy being immature. This book is more than a story of accusations, spectral evidence, and the fallout of witchcraft. It shows the social component associated with fear and anxiety on a large scale. Historically speaking, the book is prime example of the social angst and hysteria that swept early Colonial Massachusetts because of witchcraft.

The book is filled with dramatic dialogue, intense
Mar 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
definitely one of the better books I had to read for English class! The only characters I really cared for were John Proctor, Reverend Hale and Abigail. I had fun with this play and was very interested in it’s storyline the entire time
Olivia (Stories For Coffee)
This was such a wonderful play depicting mass hysteria, how corrupt a government can get once Church becomes intertwined with State, and how easily people will turn against one another to protect their own skin. I was immediately sucked into the play and was baffled by it. It sure was something to behold.
Mar 26, 2017 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
Aug 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
About as perfect an allegory as can be created – a story about a witch hunt meant to be an extended metaphor for - a witch hunt.

“You are pulling down heaven and raising up a whore” 

Arthur Miller’s brilliant 1953 play about the infamous Salem witch trials is also a scathing indictment of the McCarthy communist hearings of the early 50s and how hysteria – whether theocratic or jingoistic / political – can lead to nasty results.

“Life, woman, life is God's most precious gift; no principle, however g
Este libro…
No sé ni siquiera cómo reseñarlo. Es que es increíble.
No, sin palabras. Me ha dado mucha rabia todo.
Es realmente interesante porque está enfocado en los aspectos sociales y políticos de la caza de brujas en Salem e increíble hasta dónde puede llegar la histeria del ser humano.
Feb 05, 2019 rated it liked it

En Todos eran mis hijos me quejaba un poquito de cierto esquematismo en la construcción de los personajes, de la falta de matices. Aquí todo ello es mucho más llamativo, pero es que aquí, realmente, no hace falta, es más, es lo apropiado.

El título original de la obra es “El crisol”, lo que nos indica desde el principio que el texto no es tanto una obra de personajes, una crítica de actitudes y comportamientos, que también, sino una forma de hacer entendible como un despropósito del calibre de l
Dec 24, 2006 added it
This book was REALLY, really good...I thought it was so cool how it basically was a politicaly commentary on McCarthyism and the idea that history repeats itself.
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Recommends it for: everyone
When negative energy is let loose it can spread like a wildfire destroying all in its path.
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Shelves: plays
I really like this play because it is a compelling story in and of itself and, on a higher level, it is an astute social commentary on mass hysteria and societal pressure to conform.
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One of those high school books you read and then forget all about.
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Recommends it for: Witches
His books almost read more like novels, what with all the stage direction given. Leaves nothing to the interpretive eye of the director, that's for damn sure. ...more
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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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