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This review is from: The Crucible (Paperback)As usual, Arthur Miller was in rare form when he wrote "The Crucilble." Although on the surface it is about the Salem Witch Trials, Miller's true inspiration came from the Red Scare that plagued Hollywood in the middle of the twentieth century (and included his pal Elia Kazan). The fact that Miller wove factual history with the hysteria of his day makes "The Crucible" all the more chilling.
Throughout the course of the play, a collection of teenage girls 'confess' to having seen various women and men of the town of Salem with the devil. This hysteria sweeps over the town as even the authorities fall under the sway of these lying young girls. Caught in the middle of these hysteronics is the Proctor family - John and Elizabeth, who have struggled in the past, but are trying to rebuild their marriage. They are rent apart when Elizabeth is suspected of being a witch. John hopes to clear his wife's name, but only manages to make matters worse for both of them.
The hysteria experienced in Salem is chilling in the fact that these sorts of witch hunts occur today, in all different areas of society. "The Crucible" shows how easily people can be swayed, with the barest of evidence, to believe something that is false. Miller's play is extremely well-written and informative, and almost too frighteningly real.