The Crucible

The Crucible


Introduction by: Christopher W. E. Bigsby

Format
Paperback
Price
$14.00
 
Additional Formats
  • Paperback
  • ISBN 9780142437339
  • 176 Pages
  • Penguin Classics
  • Adult

Overview

A haunting examination of groupthink and mass hysteria in a rural community
 
“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 with diabolical malevolence.”

For more than sixty-five years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,500 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

Table of Contents

Introduction
Chronology
I. THE CRUCIBLE: THE TEXT

A Note on the Text
II. THE CRUCIBLE: CRITICISM AND ANALOGUES

Miller on The Crucible
Many Writers: Few Plays
Introduction to Collected Plays
Brewed in The Crucible
[More on Danforth]
After the Fall (excerpt)

III. THE CRUCIBLE IN PRODUCTION: COMMENTS AND REVIEWS

Henry Hewes, Arthur Miller and How He Went to the Devil
Walter Kerr, The Crucible
Brooks Atkinson, At the Theatre
Brooks Atkinson, Arthur Miller’s The Crucible in a New Edition
New York Post, Witchcraft and Stagecraft
Joseph T. Shipley, Arthur Miller’s New Melodrama Is Not What It Seems to Be
Eric Bentley, The Innocence of Arthur Miller
Robert Warshow, The Liberal Conscience in The Crucible
Harold Hobson, Fair Play
Herbert Blau, Counterforce I: The Social Drama
Marcel Aymeé, I Want to Be Hanged Like a Witch
Jean SElz, Raymond Rouleau Among the Witches
THE CRUCIBLE IN RETROSPECT: ESSAYS ON THE PLAY

David Levin, Salem Witchcraft in Recent Fiction and Drama
Penelope Curtis, The Crucible
Stephen Fender, Precision and Pseudo Precision in The Crucible

THE CRUCIBLE IN RETROSPECT: ESSAYS ON THE PLAYWRIGHT

William Wiegand, Arthur Miller and the Man Who Knows
Richard H. Rovere, Arthur Miller’s Conscience
Albert Hunt, Realism and Intelligence
Gerald Weales, Arthur Miller: Man and His Image
Lee Baxandall, Arthur Miller: Still the Innocent

CONTEXTS OF THE CRUCIBLE: HISTORICAL

A Note on Witchcraft
Records of Salem Witchcraft
Deodat Lawson, A Brief and True Narrative
Robert Calef, More Wonders of the Invisible World
John Hale, A Modest Enquiry into the Nature of Witchcraft

CONTEXTS OF THE CRUCIBLE: CONTEMPORARY

Aldous Huxley, The Devils of Loudun
Henry Steele Commager, Who Is Loyal to America?
Joseph R. McCarthy, Communists in the State Department
Whittaker Chambers, Witness
The Reporter, The Road to Damascus

THE CRUCIBLE: SPIN-OFFS

Bernard Stambler, The Crucible
Jean-Paul Sartre, On Les Sorcières de Salem; In Salem Prison

THE CRUCIBLE: ANALOGUES

Bernard Shaw, Saint Joan
Mark Twain, Tom Sawyer
Budd Schulberg, Waterfront

Topics for Discussion and Papers
Bibliography

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