19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Clever and Disturbing,
This review is from: The Crucible (Penguin Plays) (Paperback)
This play is truly and epic for recent times. The language used by Miller for his characters are intelligent and eloquent, but not to such an extent as to make for difficult reading (like Shakespeare for instance). Miller's Crucible is largely based on the Salem Witch Trials and contains more than a few actual quotes for his characters that came from transcripts of the real trials. The plot is so very clever with many layers and themes and subplots running throughout. There is the obvious top layer that almost anyone can understand about the horror of the witchhunt, and then there is a more subtle layer about the inner nature of humans... sometimes it can be quite dark (like Abigail, the girl who really leads the accusations) or cowardly (like Parris, whose only real drive seems to be saving his own skin and reputation) and yet there are others that are good (John Proctor, who takes on almost like a Christ figure) and righteous (like Rebecca Nurse who is practical and strong willed through the whole ordeal). The writing is brilliant and it is easy to become thoroughly entrenched in the horror that life in Salem in 1692 came to be. There are many tense moments, and many agonizing situations, and I was quite swept up with the futileness and frustration that many of the accusees more than likely felt. This play is brilliant, and was written in response to the McCarthy horror that swept the 1950's, and serves as a disturbing warning that the intolerance and hysteria of the Salem Witch Trials has happened before, and can happen again.