Cover of: The Crucible | Arthur Miller


  • Introduction
    Christopher Bigsby

About the Book

Few serious American playwrights have captured the imagination of the theater public all over the world as has Arthur Miller with DEATH OF A SALESMAN and THE CRUCIBLE. Mr. Miller's plays are rooted in a realistically critical view of American life and propelled by the intense personal conviction of a man who cares what he writes about and writes about something that matters. In THE CRUCIBLE he turns for his setting to the grim days of the Salem witch trials, and brings into urgently brilliant focus on an issue that still weighs heavily the progress of American civilization--the problem of guilt by association.

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About the Edition

"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 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 with diabolical malevolence".
(back cover)

Table of Contents

Editor's Note p. vii
Introduction p. 1
The Crucible p. 3
Precision and Pseudo Precision in the Crucible p. 19
The Long Shadow of the Law: the Crucible p. 33
Arthur Miller's the Crucible: Background and Sources p. 55
John Proctor's Playing in the Crucible p. 69
The Crucible of History: Arthur Miller's John Proctor p. 77
History, Myth, and Name Magic in Arthur Miller's the Crucible p. 83
History and Other Spectres in Arthur Miller's the Crucible p. 95
The Crucible p. 113
Betrayal and Blessedness: Explorations of Feminine Power in the Crucible, a View from
the Bridge, and After the Fall
p. 123
John Proctor and the Crucible of Individuation in Arthur Miller's the Crucible p. 153
Re(dis)covering the Witches in Arthur Miller's the Crucible: a Feminist Reading p. 165
Arthur Miller's ""Weight of Truth"" in the Crucible p. 177
Chronology p. 187
Contributors p. 193
Bibliography p. 195
Acknowledgments p. 197
Index p. 199

Edition Notes


Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics
Copyright Date


Dewey Decimal Class
Library of Congress
PS3525.I5156 C7 1995

The Physical Object

xxv, 143 p. ;
Number of pages

ID Numbers

Open Library
Internet Archive
LC Control Number
33256495, 716688644
Library Thing

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March 12, 2019 Edited by Lisa Edited without comment.
March 12, 2019 Edited by Lisa Added edition details from linked copy.
March 12, 2019 Edited by Lisa Added new cover
March 12, 2019 Edited by Lisa Update covers
April 1, 2008 Created by an anonymous user Initial record created, from Scriblio MARC record.