Arthur Miller And Crucible

Arthur Miller was an American playwright who was born in 1915. He grew up in New

York to a Jewish family. He graduated from the University of Michigan in 1938
where he began to distinguish himself as a playwright. His first plays were

Honors at Dawn (1936) and No Villain (1937) which won the University of Michigan

Hopwood Awards. His Death of a Salesman won the Pulitzer prize in 1949. Miller
wrote The Crucible in 1953 during the McCarthy period when Americans were
accusing each other of Pro-Communist beliefs. Many of Miller's friends were
being attacked as communists and in 1956, Miller himself was brought before the

House of Un-American Activities Committee where he was found guilty of beliefs
in communism. The verdict was reversed in 1957 in an appeals court. Miller
married Marylin Monroe in 1956 but divorced her in 1961. The Crucible is set
against the backdrop of the mad witch hunts of the Salem witch trials in the
late 17th century. It is about a town, after accusations from a few girls, which
begins a mad hunt for witches that did not exist. Many townspeople were hanged
on charges of witchcraft. Miller brings out the absurdity of the incident with
the theme of truth and righteousness. The theme is conveyed through the
struggles of Miller's main character, John Proctor. Summary Act one begins with

Reverend Parris praying over her daughter, Betty Parris, who lies unconscious on
her bed. Through conversations between Reverend Parris and his niece Abigail

Williams, and between several girls, the audience learns that these girls,
including Abigail and Betty, were engaged in occultic activities in the forest
lead by Tituba, Parris' slave from Barbados. Parris caught them and jumped from
a bush startling the girls. Betty fainted and had not recovered. During this
session, Abigail drank chicken blood to kill Elizabeth Proctor. She tells the
girls that she will kill anyone who mutters a word about what happened. The
townspeople do not know exactly what the girls were doing but there are rumors
of witchcraft. John Proctor enters the room where Betty lies faint. Abigail is
still in there and she tries to seduce him. Proctor is a farmer who has had an
affair with Abigail a while ago, but now he wants to forget it. Reverend John

Hale is summoned to look upon Betty and the research the incident. He is an
expert in occultic phenomena and he is eager to show his knowledge. He questions

Abigail who accuses Tituba as being a witch. Tituba, afraid of being hanged,
confesses faith in God and accuses Goody Good and Goody Osborne of witchcraft.

Abigail and Betty, who has woken up, claim to have been bewitched and confess
faith in God. They name several other people whom they claim they saw with the

Devil. Act two begins eight days after the discussion at Parris' house. Between
act one and act two, Deputy Governor Dansforth came to Salem to oversee the
court proceedings. Fourteen people have been arrested for witchcraft, and there
is talk of hanging. Elizabeth Proctor asks John to go to the court and testify
against Abigail and the other girls. John doesn't want to get involved. There is
tension between Elizabeth and John since Elizabeth has not forgiven John for the
affair. Marry Warren enters. She was in court testifying against the
townspeople. She gives Elizabeth a doll which she has made in court. In the
middle of their discussion, Hale enters to question John and Elizabeth,
suspicious of witchcraft. Later, Giles Corey and Francis Nurse enter to seek
advice after both their wives had been arrested. Next, the marshal arrives with
a warrant for Elizabeth's arrest. Elizabeth was accused by Abigail for stabbing

Abigail with a needle through a doll. John Proctor protests but Elizabeth is
taken away in chains. Proctor demands Mary that she goes to court and testify
against the girls. He vows that he will fight the proceedings, even if it means
confessing his own adultery. Act three takes place in court. Francis Nurse,

Giles Corey, and John Proctor present their case against the girls to Deputy

Governor Dansforth and Judge Hathorne. Proctor presents a petition signed by 91
people testifying to the good character of their wives, and Dansforth issues
warrants for the questioning of all of them. Corey charges Putnam on inciting
his daughter to accuse Corey of witchcraft in order get his land. Corey has a
witness but will not name him for fear of getting the man arrested. Corey