31 Jan 2013

REVIEW: The Crucible by Arthur Miller

Title: The Crucible 
Author: Arthur Miller
Publication Date: February 24th 2000
Publisher: Penguin
Format: Paperback
Pages: 127
Rating: 4.6/5

"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 of 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."


If I don’t say this, I think it will kill me with all its shiny glory.

I haven’t read many plays, and I have only written one (I had an excellent time writing that one) but I adore how they get straight to the point. It pushes the description out of the way, which I tend to skim read in books if they come in large packages, and lets you focus on the dialogue. It lets you analyse the true and raw character just from the words he/she allows himself to say, but sometimes that is not satisfying enough. Books have a character to them. I want to know the character’s thoughts and what they think of everybody else.

I don’t want to be told that the voice is curious or flabbergasted. I want to hear it through they resonating thoughts, and their expression, not just their oddly placed movements. Plays just seem like the writer has smothered an emotion on to the character, but books seemed like the characters have created it.

So I guess I have a love/hate relationship with them both.

Review *Mild Spoilers*:

The Crucible by Arthur Miller conveys the corruption of society, and the manipulation someone can cause that affects all aspect of the preservation of a fragile society.

Characters: If I had one word to describe the characters of this book, It would be deceiving. I was deceived utterly from start to finish. You would think that an author always conveys his main character first, and therefore, I stupidly stood beside Abigail, Betty and Reverend Parris at the start. I skimmed through the paragraphs that announced the history and the personality of each character, because I wanted to find that out myself. I didn’t want to be told. I came to respect Proctor and his choices, even right to the end when he aimed to confess but didn’t end up doing it. I know we all have our own morals, but the conflicting choices Proctor went through what suited him, and made him. Abigail is so good at being someone you would want to be on the same side with. She is convincing. I just love her. I just hate her. I must be with the devil. SEE! SHE HAS ALREADY CAPTURED ME WITHIN HER TALONS. But really, I hate her morals. Anyway, what I really wanted to talk about was John Proctor and Abigail’s relationship. At the start, I hate to say, I was looking forward to their relationship. I know undoubtedly that cheating on your partner is wrong, but it seems to be yearned for in books. We want to see some forbidden love, some slave girl fall for her handsome young master. But not when that girl is a total BITCH. Not even Ely could outrun that whore.

The only person I truly liked for every bone in their body was Elizabeth Proctor. Reverend Hale was interesting but I didn’t understand how he was not influenced by society when he walked out of that court. The court must have been such a great pressure on him.

Plot: I thought the plot was attention grabbing. I didn’t know that the outcome would be the outcome it was, and that made it better. I liked that he was not the hero, but neither was the villain. I liked that none of the characters were heroes and villains, but some just tasting darkness and others being overwhelmed by other. 

What I didn’t understand was why if u confessed that you were with the devil, and they didn’t hang u. Salem was so corrupted. It was slightly more corrupted than now. Some would say otherwise.