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Arthur Miller, the author of the play "The Crucible" was born in 1915 in New York. He is one of the most well know Playwrights of his time. He is most well know for his play "Death of a Salesman" for which he won the Pulitzer Prize in 1949. "The Crucible," which is also a well know play of Miller's, was written to "Explore the threshold between individual gilt and mass hysteria, personal spite and collective evil." The Crucible is a historic play based on the Witchcraft trials at Salem. The story takes place in 1692 in a small Puritan villiage of Massachusetts. It is a suspense filled with evils and the trials of personal conscience.
The play begins in the home of Reverend Samuel Parris where he lives with his daughter Betty, his nice of 17, Abigail, and their slave, Tituba. His daughter Betty has fallen sick. Parris has called for the help of Reverend Hale, believing the cause of her illness to be of a supernatural explanation. Betty's sickness arose when Paris caught her, Abigail, and a few of the other girls from the village dancing in the woods. They were dancing over what seemed to be a coldrine in which Tituba was brewing a devilish potion. Abigail admits to the dancing but fervently denies that it had anything to do with witchcraft.
Parris does not wholly believe Abigail, certain that as he saw the girls dancing he heard them speaking things in a satanic tongue. He is also convince that he saw a naked girl running through the woods while they were dancing. As Parris is Kneeling beside his daughter's bedside, the Putmans enter and explain that their daughter Ruth has fallen ill as well. Ann Putman admits that she sent Ruth to Tituba in order speak with Ruth's dead siblings, all of whom died during their infancy. Parris along with the Putmans then exit the room and leave Abigail along with her companions Mary Warren and Mercy Lewis, servants of the Putmans and Proctors, to look over Betty. Abigail takes this opportunity to threaten the girls not to speak a word of anything other than the dancing that took place in the woods and the conjuring of Ruth's sister.
John Procter then enters the room looking for Mary whom he is there to take home. He is then left alone with Abigail, whom his wife had fired prior to these events because of Abigail's affair with Mr. Proctor. Abigail admits to John the dancing that took place in the woods and denies that it had anything to do with witchcraft. She then fails at her attempt to seduce him once more and he exits the room.
Reverend Hale finally arrives, Betty's room is filled with close friends of Rev. Parris, all of whom are debating weather her not her illness is caused by a supernatural power. Parris quikly fills Rev. Hale in on the details of the situation. Rev. Hale immediately beings to inquire of Abigail if indeed the night of dancing was related in any way to the devil.
Abigail then blames Tituba, saying that Tituba sent her spirit out on the girls and forced them to drink blood. Tituba, realizing the only way to save her life is to admit her wrongs, tells the Rev. that the devil appeared to her and promised to return her to Barbados. She then begins to list the people in the villiage who she claims she saw with the devil and Abigail and Betty quikly join in with the accusations. Within the next week, the witchcraft trials begin. Abigail, Mary Warren, Mercy Lewis, Betty Parris, and Ruth Putman are all present in the court during the trials.
They are present in order to tell the judges which of the people they accused are guilty and which are innocent based on their "sightings" of those people with the Devil. The judges also determine the accused's innocence based on weather or not their spirits come out, or possess, the five girls during their trial. It doesn't take long before the girls accusations begin to consume much of the villiage. After Abigail accuses Mrs. Proctor of witchcraft, many of the villiage begin to think that these accusations are false and that the girls are acting under pretence. After Elizabeth's jail sentence, her husband, John Proctor, takes action.
He, along with many other villagers whose loved ones have been accused, immediately goes to the court house and demands to be heard. He explains to the judges that Abigail and he had had an affair and that Abigail readily admitted to him that Betty's sickness had naught to do with witchcraft. He then goes on to say that his servant, Mary Warren, admitted that the girls were indeed making up the accusations and that none of it was indeed the truth. Mary Warren then admits this to the judges. The judges are shocked, and it seems as if Proctor has indeed won his case when Abigail and the rest of the girls present begin to throw fits, claiming that Mary Warren is throwing her spirit on them. Scared that she would be hanged, Mary Warren claims that the accusations are false and begs the girls for forgiveness in stating otherwise.
The judges then assume that John Proctor is indeed working hand and hand with the Devil and therefore have him thrown in jail along with the others accused of witchcraft. Months go by, and still the girls continue to make accusation after accusation. Many people admit to the accusations to keep from being hung, but already over 30 people have been executed. Finally, after yet another false hope of the witchcraft trials coming to an end, John Proctor along with many other characters in the play are unjustly hung. Eventually the trials did come to an end, but not without the loss of many innocent lives.
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