Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Crucible, by Arthur Miller

Barnes & Noble

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."

I listened to the audiobook version of this play.

Pros: The cast is incredible: Stacy Keach; Ed Begley, Jr.; Carol Kane, etc. They do an amazing job and you can feel the urgency and the fear in the village.

Cons: I am a visual learner, so it was hard for me to follow the story without having something to look at.

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