ARRAY(0xb2b904a4)
 
Customer Review

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Show honor now, show a stony heart and sink them with it.", 23 Sep 2005
This review is from: The Crucible (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
When John Proctor says these words to his wife Elizabeth at the conclusion of this play, he has faced accusations of being in league with the Devil and is ready to face consequences meted out by the religious tribunal he has faced. Though he has sinned by committing adultery with Abigail Williams, he believes the witchcraft trials which have ultimately consumed him to be the result of human, rather than godly, forces. Playwright Arthur Miller sets the scene for this action in an Overture explaining the theocracy which controlled Salem. Powerful clergymen, some more rigid in their interpretations of Scripture than others, "protected" citizens by enforcing conformity with the church's teachings.
Through detailed character sketches inserted into the structure of the play, Miller broadens the realism, and when a group of hysterical young women makes accusations of witchcraft, resulting ultimately in the deaths of nineteen of their fellow-citizens, Miller has prepared his audience to accept the trials and the behavior of the characters as plausible. His straightforward prose, use of homely details, and simple sentence structure (despite its archaic tone) further add to the realism. When the affair between John Proctor and Abigail Williams, who precipitates and then promotes the hysteria among the young "afflicted" girls, is revealed within the play, the modern reader is given a "hook" with which to identify with characters and situations which might otherwise feel foreign.
Miller's play is a powerful revelation of themes involving mass hysteria, fear of the unknown, and a belief in the essential evil hidden within the hearts of men. As the accused are required to prove their innocence, questions regarding the role of individualism within this society, its intolerance of differences, its justice as defined by the state and by clergymen who differ, and the hysteria which grows from repression all surface within the dramatic action, leading to an intensity of feeling rare in modern theater. When John Proctor is faced with a choice of telling the truth and being sentenced to death or lying and being saved, the ironies of the play are fully revealed.
Written in 1952, slightly before the McCarthy era, Miller's depiction of these trials presages the McCarthy hearings and illustrates his belief that the fear of Communism is the equivalent of fear of the Devil in colonial times. Miller, however, has selected facts which illustrate his point of view and his themes, making no pretense of accuracy regarding the witchcraft trials themselves. In reality, Abigail Williams was eleven, and John Proctor was sixty, quite different from the dramatic circumstances here. Mary Whipple
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

Be the first person to comment on this review.

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines ">here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking on the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
 


Review Details

Item

4.2 out of 5 stars (67 customer reviews)
5 star:
 (37)
4 star:
 (16)
3 star:
 (9)
2 star:
 (3)
1 star:
 (2)
 
 
 
Used & New from: 0.01
Add to wishlist
Reviewer

Mary Whipple
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   

Location: New England

Top Reviewer Ranking: 86