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The Crucible (1953)

de Arthur Miller

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14,057148348 (3.65)247
"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."… (més)
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Anglès (140)  Castellà (2)  Francès (2)  Italià (1)  Portuguès (1)  Alemany (1)  Totes les llengües (147)
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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. ( )
  JRobinW | Jan 20, 2023 |
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. ( )
  gideonslife | Jan 5, 2023 |
Liked it more than I expected. Have never seen the play, but I really enjoyed reading it. ( )
  steve02476 | Jan 3, 2023 |
2017 Winter:

This was a read for my Junior Class. I'm not sure I have a whole lot to say about this book. It's a clearly explained allusion for McCarthyism presented through the Salem Witch Trials. It's far more educational to my than enjoyable entertainment, but the kids did love reading parts out loud and gasping as crazier things kept happens while the hysteria ramped. ( )
  wanderlustlover | Dec 27, 2022 |
Interesting play by Arthur Miller. It was interesting to finally understand what the Salem Witch trials were and what they meant. ( )
  EvelynNygren | Nov 17, 2022 |
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Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Miller, Arthurautor primaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Bigsby, ChristopherIntroduccióautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Boehlke, HenningDissenyador de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Dreyfuss, RichardNarradorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Keach, StaceyNarradorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Watts, RichardIntroduccióautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Wood, E. R.Introduccióautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat

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A small upper bedroom in the home of Reverend Samuel Parris, Salem, Massachusetts, in the spring of the year 1692.
A Note on the Historical Accuracy of This Play

This play is not history in the sense in which the word is used by the academic historian.
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PROCTOR: I have trouble enough without I come five mile to hear him preach only hellfire and bloody damnation. Take it to heart, Mr. Parris. There are many others who stay away from church these days because you hardly ever mention God any more.
PARRIS: There is a party in this church. I am not blind; there is a faction and a party.

PROCTOR: Against you?
PUTNAM: Against him and all authority.
PROCTOR: Why, then I must find it and join it.
PARRIS. Why could there not have been poppets hid where no one ever saw them?
PROCTOR. There might also be a dragon with five legs in my house, but no one has ever seen it.
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Wikipedia en anglès (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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Mitjana: (3.65)
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2 320
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3 824
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