The Crucible pdf Book Overview
The Crucible pdf by Arthur Miller is a 1953 play by American playwright Arthur Miller. It is a dramatized and partially fictionalized story of the Salem witch trials that took place in the Massachusetts Bay Colony during 1692–93. Miller wrote the play as an allegory for McCarthyism, when the United States government persecuted people accused of being communists. Miller was questioned by the House of Representatives’ Committee on Un-American Activities in 1956 and convicted of contempt of Congress for refusing to identify others present at meetings he had attended. The play was first performed at the Martin Beck Theatre on Broadway on January 22, 1953, starring E. G. Marshall, Beatrice Straight and Madeleine Sherwood. Miller felt that this production was too stylized and cold, and the reviews for it were largely hostile (although The New York Times noted “a powerful play [in a] driving performance”). The production won the 1953 Tony Award for Best Play. A year later a new production succeeded and the play became a classic. It is regarded as a central work in the canon of American drama.
The Crucible pdf Book Summary
The place is Salem, Massachusetts, in 1692, an enclave of rigid piety huddled on the edge of a wilderness. Its inhabitants believe unquestioningly in their own sanctity. But in Arthur Miller’s edgy masterpiece, that very belief will have poisonous consequences when a vengeful teenager accuses a rival of witchcraft—and then when those accusations multiply to consume the entire village.
First produced in 1953, at a time when America was convulsed by a new epidemic of witch-hunting, The Crucible brilliantly explores the threshold between individual guilt and mass hysteria, personal spite and collective evil. It is a play that is not only relentlessly suspenseful and vastly moving but that compels readers to fathom their hearts and consciences in ways that only the greatest theater ever can.
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The Crucible Author – Arthur Miller
Arthur Miller was born in New York City in 1915 and studied at the University of Michigan. His plays include All My Sons (1947), Death of a Salesman (1949), The Crucible (1953), A View from the Bridge and A Memory of Two Mondays (1955), After the Fall (1963), Incident at Vichy (1964), The Price (1968), The Creation of the World and Other Business (1972) and The American Clock. He has also written two novels, Focus (1945), and The Misfits, which was filmed in 1960, and the text for In Russia (1969), Chinese Encounters (1979), and In the Country (1977), three books of photographs by his wife, Inge Morath. More recent works include a memoir, Timebends (1987), and the plays The Ride Down Mt. Morgan (1991), The Last Yankee (1993), Broken Glass (1993), which won the Olivier Award for Best Play of the London Season, and Mr. Peter’s Connections (1998). His latest book is On Politics and the Art of Acting. Miller was granted with the 2001 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. He has twice won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award, and in 1949 he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize.
Information about the Book the Crucible pdf (Amazon)
- ASIN : B0023ZLLBM
- Publisher : Penguin Classics (March 25, 2003)
- Publication date : March 25, 2003
- Language : English
- File size : 1042 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 99 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #55,440 in Kindle Store
- #12 in Two-Hour Education & Reference Short Reads
- #29 in American Dramas & Plays
- #32 in United States Drama & Plays
- Customer Reviews:4.5 out of 5 stars 4,863 ratings
The Crucible pdf Book Characters by
In a sense, The Crucible has the structure of a classical tragedy, with John Proctor as the play’s tragic hero. Honest, upright, and blunt-spoken, Proctor is a good man, but one with a secret, fatal flaw. His lust for Abigail Williams led to their affair (which occurs before the play begins), and created Abigail’s jealousy of his wife, Elizabeth, which sets the entire witch hysteria in motion. Once the trials begin, Proctor realizes that he can stop Abigail’s rampage through Salem but only if he confesses to his adultery. Such an admission would ruin his good name, and Proctor is, above all, a proud man who places great emphasis on his reputation. He eventually makes an attempt, through Mary Warren’s testimony, to name Abigail as a fraud without revealing the crucial information. When this attempt fails, he finally bursts out with a confession, calling Abigail a “whore” and proclaiming his guilt publicly. Only then does he realize that it is too late, that matters have gone too far, and that not even the truth can break the powerful frenzy that he has allowed Abigail to whip up. Proctor’s confession succeeds only in leading to his arrest and conviction as a witch, and though he lambastes the court and its proceedings, he is also aware of his terrible role in allowing this fervor to grow unchecked.
Proctor redeems himself and provides a final denunciation of the witch trials in his final act. Offered the opportunity to make a public confession of his guilt and live, he almost succumbs, even signing a written confession. His immense pride and fear of public opinion compelled him to withhold his adultery from the court, but by the end of the play he is more concerned with his personal integrity than his public reputation. He still wants to save his name, but for personal and religious, rather than public, reasons. Proctor’s refusal to provide a false confession is a true religious and personal stand. Such a confession would dishonor his fellow prisoners, who are brave enough to die as testimony to the truth. Perhaps more relevantly, a false admission would also dishonor him, staining not just his public reputation, but also his soul. By refusing to give up his personal integrity Proctor implicitly proclaims his conviction that such integrity will bring him to heaven. He goes to the gallows redeemed for his earlier sins. As Elizabeth says to end the play, responding to Hale’s plea that she convince Proctor to publicly confess: “He have his goodness now. God forbid I take it from him!”
Of the major characters, Abigail is the least complex. She is clearly the villain of the play, more so than Parris or Danforth: she tells lies, manipulates her friends and the entire town, and eventually sends nineteen innocent people to their deaths. Throughout the hysteria, Abigail’s motivations never seem more complex than simple jealousy and a desire to have revenge on Elizabeth Proctor. The language of the play is almost biblical, and Abigail seems like a biblical character—a Jezebel figure, driven only by sexual desire and a lust for power. Nevertheless, it is worth pointing out a few background details that, though they don’t mitigate Abigail’s guilt, make her actions more understandable.
Abigail is an orphan and an unmarried girl; she thus occupies a low rung on the Puritan Salem social ladder (the only people below her are the slaves, like Tituba, and social outcasts). For young girls in Salem, the minister and the other male adults are God’s earthly representatives, their authority derived from on high. The trials, then, in which the girls are allowed to act as though they have a direct connection to God, empower the previously powerless Abigail. Once shunned and scorned by the respectable townsfolk who had heard rumors of her affair with John Proctor, Abigail now finds that she has clout, and she takes full advantage of it. A mere accusation from one of Abigail’s troop is enough to incarcerate and convict even the most well-respected inhabitant of Salem. Whereas others once reproached her for her adultery, she now has the opportunity to accuse them of the worst sin of all: devil-worship.
Reverend John Hale
A young minister reputed to be an expert on witchcraft. Reverend Hale is called in to Salem to examine Parris’s daughter Betty. Hale is a committed Christian and hater of witchcraft. His critical mind and intelligence save him from falling into blind fervor. His arrival sets the hysteria in motion, although he later regrets his actions and attempts to save the lives of those accused.
Readers first encounter Elizabeth through the words of Abigail, who describes Elizabeth as a “bitter woman, a lying, cold, sniveling woman.” When Elizabeth enters the action of the play in the second act, we immediately see that Abigail is the liar: Elizabeth is anything but bitter and sniveling. She is solicitous of her husband, John, as well as deeply caring and sensitive, if still hurting from what has happened to her. John had an affair with Abigail when she was a servant in the Proctors’ household. Elizabeth was ill after giving birth to a child when the affair happened. Now, Elizabeth and John are trying very hard to repair their broken marriage. But Elizabeth is human: she doesn’t trust John yet. She senses that he wants to do all he can to make up for his mistake, but she isn’t ready to fully love him without reservation again. Her pride won’t let her. The revelation that John has talked to Abigail alone changes Elizabeth. Her fear and anger about John’s affair come out. She is colder to him, because as much as she loves him, his weakness towards Abigail is a major flaw in his character, which Elizabeth sees clearly even though John does not. She tries to explain to him why he must tell the town authorities that Abigail confessed to him that she and the girls were lying, but he’s flustered and upset. Before they can discuss their problem much further, the Rev. Hale arrives to try to discern whether the Proctors are a good Christian couple. Elizabeth impresses him; she really does practice the Christian principles of charity, kindness, and self-control that she professes to have. She also accepts being taken off to jail stoically. When John comes to the court to try to free Elizabeth, she faces her most difficult choice in the play. Readers feel the tension that this character goes through, as she lies in an attempt save John.
At the end of the play, Elizabeth has used her time in jail to contemplate the way she’s lived her life, and she confesses to John that she did keep a cold home. She is one of just a handful of characters who seem to have grown from the experience of what happened in Salem. She is a wiser and better person at the end of the play, though she ends the play even sadder than at the beginning, because she becomes a widow. Elizabeth’s character represents the idea of goodness, and the way a person who thinks herself to be good (and is, in fact, overall a good person) can still have fatal flaws. Her character also reminds readers how overwhelming the Salem witch trials were; it’s easy to think we might not have gotten caught up in them, but almost everyone was, even good people who lived calm and orderly lives.
The minister of Salem’s church. Reverend Parris is a paranoid, power-hungry, yet oddly self-pitying figure. Many of the townsfolk, especially John Proctor, dislike him, and Parris is very concerned with building his position in the community.
Francis Nurse’s wife. Rebecca is a wise, sensible, and upright woman, held in tremendous regard by most of the Salem community. However, she falls victim to hysteria when the Putnams accuse her of witchcraft and she refuses to confess.
A wealthy, influential man in Salem. Nurse is well respected by most people in Salem, but he is an enemy of Thomas Putnam and his wife.
Governor Danforth represents rigidity and an over-adherence to the law in The Crucible. Danforth is clearly an intelligent man, highly respected and successful. He arrives in Salem to oversee the trials of the accused witches with a serene sense of his own ability to judge fairly. The chaos of the trial doesn’t affect his own belief that he is the best judge. At the end of the play, Salem is falling apart, Abigail has run away, having stolen Parris’s life savings, and many other lives have been ruined yet Danforth still cannot agree that the trials were a sham. He remains firm in his conviction that the condemned should not be executed. When John refuses to let him post his confession in town, Danforth sends him away to be hanged, “high over the town.” Danforth believes in sticking by a principle in spite of all evidence that his belief is wrong. Despite his intelligence and prestige, Danforth is the most deluded character in the play. While modern audiences many find the idea of witches laughable, Danforth reflects his time, an era when many people believed in witches and witchcraft, (although it should be noted that Miller makes it clear that at least a few of the residents of Salem are skeptical of witches). But even in Salem, in 1692, some people did not fall for the girls’ “pretense” as easily as Danforth does. Once he believes the girls, lead by Abigail, really are possessed, Danforth is trapped by his own ego, unable to see that they’re lying despite mounting evidence. He just can’t go back and admit that he was fooled. Danforth represents the evil of blind certainty in the play: he refuses to accept the truth because to do so would humiliate him. He’d rather see people die.
Giles is a noble character in the play. He represents strength of will to the other characters, who end up looking up to him or feeling cowed by him, depending on how they have acted themselves. Early on the play, Giles sees the possibility of witchcraft in town as intriguing, and he asks Rev. Hale why his wife seems to be able to stop him from reading just by being in the room. But by the middle of the play, when his wife has been arrested for witchcraft, Giles realizes his mistake and joins John in approaching the court to tell Danforth he’s wrong. Giles is also smart enough to realize that Putnam is using the accusations of witchcraft as cover to try to take back property they’ve fought over for many years. He refuses to confess to witchcraft, even when he is tortured. In a town where many people lie to save their own skins, and accuse their neighbors rather than speak up for what is right, Giles stands apart as a truly noble and brave man.
A wealthy, influential citizen of Salem, Putnam holds a grudge against Francis Nurse for preventing Putnam’s brother-in-law from being elected to the office of minister. He uses the witch trials to increase his own wealth by accusing people of witchcraft and then buying up their land.
Thomas Putnam’s wife. Ann Putnam has given birth to eight children, but only Ruth Putnam survived. The other seven died before they were a day old, and Ann is convinced that they were murdered by supernatural means.
The Putnams’ lone surviving child out of eight. Like Betty Parris, Ruth falls into a strange stupor after Reverend Parris catches her and the other girls dancing in the woods at night.
Reverend Parris’s black slave from Barbados. Tituba agrees to perform voodoo at Abigail’s request.
Mary is the Proctors’ servant after Abigail was let go. She’s a weak person, prone to hysterics and drawn to drama. She moves back and forth between the pack of lying girls and the Proctors, drawn by the girls but knowing the Proctors are innocent. She knows that the girls are lying and that there is no witchcraft in Salem. She realizes that Abigail intends to use the ruse of accusing Elizabeth of being a witch to get Elizabeth executed so Abigail can marry John, and she knows that Elizabeth has never done anything wrong. For much of the third act, Mary tries to help, despite her intense and justified fear of Abigail and the girls. Yet she is not strong enough to stand up for what is right, and eventually gives in to the girls, going so far as accusing John of being a witch, too.
Reverend Parris’s ten-year-old daughter. Betty falls into a strange stupor after Parris catches her and the other girls dancing in the forest with Tituba. Her illness and that of Ruth Putnam fuel the first rumors of witchcraft.
Giles Corey’s third wife. Martha’s reading habits lead to her arrest and conviction for witchcraft.
A man from Salem who acts as clerk of the court during the witch trials. He is upright and determined to do his duty for justice.
The crucible pdf quotes by Arthur Miller
“Because it is my name! Because I cannot have another in my life! Because I lie and sign myself to lies! Because I am not worth the dust on the feet of them that hang! How may I live without my name? I have given you my soul; leave me my name!”
“Here is all the invisible world, caught, defined, and calculated. In these books the Devil stands stripped of all his brute disguises. Here are all your familiar spirits – your incubi and succubi; your witches that go by land, by air, and by sea; your wizards of the night and of the day. Have no fear now – we shall find him out if he has come among us, and I mean to crush him utterly if he has shown his face!”
“Until an hour before the Devil fell, God thought him beautiful in Heaven.”
“I can. And there’s your first marvel, that I can. You have made your magic now, for now I do think I see some shred of goodness in John Proctor. Not enough to weave a banner with, but white enough to keep it from such dogs.”
“I do not judge you. The magistrate sits in your heart that judges you. I never thought you but a good man, John – only somewhat bewildered.”
“A child’s spirit is like a child, you can never catch it by running after it; you must stand still, and, for love, it will soon itself come back.”
“Perhaps because there are those who believe that authority is all of a piece and that to challenge it anywhere is to threaten it everywhere.”
“I look for John Proctor that took me from my sleep and put knowledge in my heart! I never knew what pretense Salem was, I never knew the lying lessons I was taught by all these Christian women and their covenanted men! And now you bid me tear the light out of my eyes? I will not, I cannot! You loved me, John Proctor, and whatever sin it is, you love me yet!”
“I want to open myself! . . . I want the light of God, I want the sweet love of Jesus! I danced for the Devil; I saw him, I wrote in his book; I go back to Jesus; I kiss His hand. I saw Sarah Good with the Devil! I saw Goody Osburn with the Devil! I saw Bridget Bishop with the Devil!”
“I speak my own sins; I cannot judge another. I have no tongue for it.”
“I come to do the Devil’s work. I come to counsel Christians they should belie themselves. There is blood on my head! Can you not see the blood on my head!!”
Where to buy The crucible pdf by Arthur Miller
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Customer reviews on barnesandnoble for the crucible by Arthur Miller
5 out of 5 stars
3 years ago
The Crucible Is An Amazing Novel And Play. The Way It Captures The …
The Crucible is an amazing novel and play. The way it captures the events that took place in Salem is astounding and it made me feel as if I was actually there and was one of the accused. I have always loved magic and witch-related shows, books, and plays along with history there for The Crucible was a fantastic find. 10/10 would highly recommend.
2 out of 5 stars
7 years ago
Let It Be Known That I Enjoy Reading Before I Go Into Why This I
Let it be known that I enjoy reading before I go into why this is quite possibly my most hated book ever. In my AP English class, we were forced to read this along with two other books, but we mainly focused on this one, and it was the worst of the bunch. The characters are a bunch of gullible idiots who will believe anything that the antagonist tells them for no adequately explained reason, the only characters I can relate with are unceremoniously killed off, and I don’t buy the supposed slow downward spiral into chaos that it seems Miller was going for. Rather than a steady decline, it is more of a plummet, leaving me wondering ‘Why did that happen?’ and ‘How can anyone be so easily deceived?’ There is no steady decline of people’s morals as the tension grows, but everyone seems to start pointing fingers at the drop of a hat, which is one of my main complaints. The play had so much potential. It could have shown how paranoia and distrust can slowly seep into the fabric of society and eat away at our morals until little remains, but it comes of as clumsy, and the characters’ motivations as contrived. I was looking forward to reading this book, and was massively disappointed. Although maybe it’s because I’m an atheist, who knows?
4 out of 5 stars
7 years ago
A Classic Of The American Theatre
This has been one of my favorite plays for decades – since I was in the seventh grade. Even then I knew how egregious its historical accuracy is – the Proctors were really 60 and 51, Abigail was 11, etc. – it’s still a powerful play. I’m auditioning for the show in two weeks!
4 out of 5 stars
7 years ago
A Very Good Interpretation To An Event That’s Changed Dramatical
A very good interpretation to an event that’s changed dramatically over time. It is NOT a factual piece so if you are reading this for the sake of knowing what happened in the Salem Witch Trials this is not the book you want to start off with. It’s still enjoyable if you are looking for a roller coaster ride that brings imagination to 1692 Salem.
2 out of 5 stars
8 years ago
This Book Was Intense And Weird. It Dealt With Injustice Within
This book was intense and weird.
It dealt with injustice within a political system and the power of accusations. I personally did not enjoy this book as much as others but at times it was intriguing. The best scene was when they were at trial and everyone went crazy. I felt this book was boring at times with the long speech and I did not particularly like the setting. Overall if you enjoy books that are dated to later centuries and has &quot;witches&quot; then you will enjoy this book
Customer reviews on Amazon for the crucible by Arthur Miller
5.0 out of 5 stars C’mon, Seriously?
Reviewed in the United States on February 10, 2019
The quintessential allegory inveighing against spreading political lies to gin up support for your side out of fear of some other enemy. Miller compares the McCarthy hearings not only to the Salem Witch Trials, but also to Stalin’s “Show Trials” of the 1930’s. Considering the target of his intellectual wrath claimed the mantle of being the savior of America from the “Red Menace,” writing the dialogue of the witch trials to so closely coincide with that used by Stalin’s henchmen was brilliant.
5.0 out of 5 stars a play for our time
Reviewed in the United States on January 25, 2022
One cannot read this play and not recognize that we are in the grip of similar demons. The children of Salem whose wild accusations condemn good people to death have their counterparts in those students who persecute professors with views they, the “woke” students, reject. No one hangs now – thank God – but careers have been shattered and lives uprooted by accusations made in bad faith. America, return to rationality and don’t be afraid, amid the clamor about your sins, to remember your goodness
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the masterpieces of US drama. Although it …
Reviewed in the United States on June 4, 2017
One of the masterpieces of US drama. Although it has four acts it flowed forcefully from the first to last page. A must for anyone interested in the theatre or US literature. In every respect, characterization, plot, dialogue and the interplay of all elements, an incredible and poetic work of art. It is about the only thing that separates the human race from all other species, integrity and values other than self preservation. One of the few plays in US literature that has the power of classical works of the Greeks and Shakespeare.
5.0 out of 5 stars The Crucible Review
Reviewed in the United States on July 11, 2011
I was assigned an English paper to be written on an author of the Literary Canon. A friend of mine recommended this book so I decided to read it. This book blew me away. The plot was engaging and there was never a moment when I became disinterested. The story of one girl turning a whole town against a group of wrongly accused people of practicing witchcraft blew me away. The whole time I was reading the book I was rooting for Abigail’s manipulation and lies to be exposed. The one thing I liked about the characters in this book is they all had a driving purpose. It ranged from wanting the affections of a married man to trying to redeem ones self by saving a town from a group of evil women. I feel this a great educational book. It gives insight into the Salem Witch Trials and also Puritan religion. It has all of the drama and secrets of a great book while also teaching an important moral lesson. It shows how one lie can spiral out of control and have devastating consequences. After reading this book, I was interested in the characters real life stories and researched. This is one of those books that will keep you thinking after your read it about the characters, plot, and the sad ending. This book will always remain on my bookshelf for future rereadings.
4.0 out of 5 stars The actual novel / book is great. I love the plot although at some points …
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 29, 2014
The actual novel / book is great. I love the plot although at some points I feel it went quite slow and causing it not to be interesting any longer. The condition was great and make sure you order with one day delivery if you don’t want it to turn up 2 months later. If you are a student I would recommend buying another copy of this book, either the student edition ( you would find this on the menu when your write it in the Amazon search tab and it should appear as a scarecrow being hanged on the front cover, it will say student edition in brackets next to the image) or you could by the hardback which has the image of a woman with a green light on top of her head. Bothe these have notes and questions for students to answer for a better understanding of the play and a better understanding of social/ historical context- in English gcse it is known as AO4. I also recommend you buy the York notes of the crucible with the hardcover just mentioned above. The York notes works only with the hard cover in terms of references to the actual book in terms of page numbers e.g on the York notes it will give a quote and say page 5, and that quote will be on the hardcover on page 5 but could be on a different page on other editions of the book. The York notes will help a lot. For anyone who loves reading try “as I lay dying” by William Faulkner. It is quite difficult but have a go.
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