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The Crucible

            The Crucible", written by Arthur Miller in 1953, is a play set in the time of the Salem Witch Trials. Corruption and scandal lie within the town people, willing to turn on their neighbor in an instant. The story follows from the time the first witch, Abigail Williams, was accused, to the very end with the hanging of the accused witch John Proctor. Abigail is spotted in the woods with her friends, dancing around a fire naked. To save herself from doing something considered of the devil in this town of theocracy and strong Puritanism, she and her friends make up an elaborate story of how they were possessed by their slave, Tituba, by her witchcraft. Elaborate lists of all other witches who have possessed them are made, and the town goes into hysteria, accusing more and more of witchcraft. Underlying all this is revenge and jealousy. Abigail, once a servant to the Proctor home, was discovered to be having an affair by John Proctor's wife, Elizabeth Proctor. Immediately Abigail accuses her of witchcraft, showing to those who know just how vengeful she is. Abigail also accuses John Proctor. During his trial, he admits he had an affair with the girl and explains her motives. However, he is not believed and is given the choice of admitting to witchcraft and listing others who have also participated in this sin, or death. John, being virtuous in name, will not sign away his life or the life of his friends, and the end of the play results in his hanging. Through Proctor, Miller shows the death of individuality comes from a tight knit community. When the community becomes to fail in any way, economically, politically, or religiously, the people in town begin to suffer. In "The Crucible", mass hysteria is produced by a simple rumor and consequently the townspeople begin to turn on their own neighbors, accusing them of witchcraft. The play shows the key to survival is your sense of individuality.

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