Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Crucible by Arthur Miller-Insight into the Salem Witch Trials

I ended up reading this because another book I read, The Shape of Mercy, mentioned it. I didn't know a whole lot about the Salem witch trials and it's always fascinated me, plus I'm trying to read more classics, so I picked it up. This is actually a play, so it was a very quick read because of all of the dialogue. The author wrote it during the 1950's when the McCarthy witchhunts were happening, as a parallel to the Salem witch trials of the 1690's. While the author did use real people for his characters, there's not much known about them personally, so he gives them characteristics based on what is known. He focuses the story on John Proctor and his wife, the girls that accuse them, and the parents of the girls. He creates a few possible reasons for the girls' accusations and shows how the superstition and hysteria spreads. Ultimately, it becomes a decision between telling a lie to live or telling the truth and being sent to your death.

I thought this was a very interesting read. We don't know why the witch trials happened or what the motives were behind it, but this gave some interesting possibilities to think about. It sure made me appreciate our modern-day justice system a lot more! There were a lot of superstitions and misguided beliefs then as there is now and it shows the importance of checking our beliefs against the Bible, the ultimate Truth.


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  2. Here's a link from an article in Christianity Today magazine that gives some background to the topic:

  3. Thanks for the article! The explanation of some of their beliefs and practices helped me understand a little more how it could have happened and I found it really interesting.