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The Crucible (Penguin Plays)

The Crucible (Penguin Plays)


Book Overview: The Crucible (Penguin Plays)

A haunting examination of groupthink and mass hysteria in a rural community

The place is Salem, Massachusetts, in 1692, an enclave of rigid piety huddled on the edge of a wilderness. Its inhabitants believe unquestioningly in their own sanctity. But in Arthur Miller's edgy masterpiece, that very belief will have poisonous consequences when a vengeful teenager accuses a rival of witchcraft--and then when those accusations multiply to consume the entire village.

First produced in 1953, at a time when America was convulsed by a new epidemic of witch-hunting, The Crucible brilliantly explores the threshold between individual guilt and mass hysteria, personal spite and collective evil. It is a play that is not only relentlessly suspenseful and vastly moving but that compels readers to fathom their hearts and consciences in ways that only the greatest theater ever can.

"A drama of emotional power and impact" -- New York Post

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Arthur Miller
Arthur Miller, born in 1915 in New York City, was one of the most profound playwrights, essayists, and authors in American history. His contributions to theatre are remarkable and far-reaching, earning him a place in the literary hall of fame. Miller's roots were firmly placed in the world of theatre, graduating from the University of Michigan with a degree in Journalism before pivoting into playwriting. Miller's work primarily delved into the varying facets of human nature and social reality. His eye for crafting stories around severe societal issues came to the forefront with his acclaimed play, "Death of a Salesman", which not only won him the Pulitzer Prize in 1949 but also offered an unflinching critique of the American Dream. Miller's stature grew even further with seminal works such as "The Crucible," an allegory of the McCarthy-era witch hunts, and "A View from the Bridge." Despite facing significant personal and professional controversy, most notably his infamous marriage to Marilyn Monroe and subpoena by the House Un-American Activities Committee, Miller remained dedicated to his craft until his passing in 2005. Arthur Miller etched a permanent mark on American theatre with his profound narratives and uncompromising humanism, solidifying his reputation as one of the most impactful playwrights of the 20th century.

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