The play “The Crucible” was written by Arthur Miller in 1953 under the influence of the situation that was formed in the US at that time. Such practice was called “McCarthyism”, or, in other words, “the witch hunt”, which was directed against officials, politicians, cultural figures with communist views. Miller used real historical facts – persecutions, arrests, trials and subsequent executions of residents of Salem town in Massachusetts, who were accused of witchcraft at the very end of the seventeenth century. But the play itself goes far beyond the limits of the foolishness of the power that used some formal reasons for condemning innocent people.
Arthur Miller is known for his sharp tongue and elegant expressive means. He is an amazing writer, whose most famous work is, perhaps, the play “The Crucible”. In the center of events is Salem town in 1692. A small company of young girls is going to the forest to tell fortunes and bewitch young people. Among the girlfriends is and the main character of this story, Abigail Williams, whose goal was John Proctor on the field of love. With the help of her friend’s skills, Abigail hopes very much to get rid of her rival and wife of her lover. However, everything goes not according to the plan and Abigail’s uncle, Samuel, finds the girls in the forest.
All girls are frightened, and one of them even faints. Such an event worries the city, some parents accuse girls of witchcraft. Very smart Abigail is looking for options to get benefits from this situation and the right solution comes to her head very quickly. Abigail resolutely declares that her friend, Tituba, has relation to the devil. Every day, the unrest in the city increases, all residents begin to suspect the girls of witchcraft. Tituba, after using violent methods, admits her connection with Satan and gives out the names of “real witches”. The number of the suspect is growing and hysteria spans a small town. Abigail finds benefit here again. Thanks to her words and deeds, the wife of her beloved John is taken into the custody. Experiencing the situation, John comes to the conclusion that Abigail seeks to eliminate the rival in this way and decides to bring her to the surface. So, Abigail’s plan for personal revenge at the expense of mass paranoia leads to tragic consequences, and desperation pushes the unfortunate people to the edge of insanity.
From the very beginning, Abigail makes it clear that you can expect troubles from her. She is beautiful as much as dangerous. Feeling his power over people and over John, in particular, she is not afraid to go as far as it takes to avenge her broken heart. She is a cynical, intelligent and industrious young girl is both a victim and an accused, and the main instigator in the whole story. There is something devilish in her dangerous beauty.
As the end, several women were accused of the collusion with the devil and witchcraft, who, according to the inhabitants, sent damage to people and livestock. Women were found guilty and executed. One of the plot lines describes the development of the process in Salem and also shows the tragedy of those women who cannot justify themselves not because they are guilty, but because the judges are driven by absurd prejudices and beliefs.
“Almost a documentary story” about the absurd “legal” process is directly related to the revenge of the rejected girl. Arthur Miller himself participated in the trial as a defendant, many details were written from nature, which gave the play a special credibility, and as a result, it was declared as anti-American work right after its publication and considered as irrelevant. Nevertheless, the history has proved the opposite – this is a powerful play, touching both readers and viewers by stupidity and meanness, betrayal and despair when the state machine is launched against a person. Arthur Miller is the author of the concept of “witch hunt” as a designation of a process fabricated against a person, unproven, and therefore deadly dangerous. Miller demonstrates how intrigue or slander can become the ground for mass hysteria, how sometimes one person can just manipulate people, playing on the fears and feelings of people – all these issues are reflected in this play, which is more than modern, despite the facts that the events shown in it relate to a completely different time period of history.