Salem was a town in which, perhaps like many others, various people held grievances or grudges against one another. These negative feelings are provided an outlet with the frenzied accusations by some town girls of the presence of the devil in Salem. Soon, madness overcomes the town and a witch-hunt is on. A provincial court that is brought in to Salem rounds up dozens of accused witches. For those who are charged with witchcraft, there are only two options: confess to the crime, thus tarnishing their reputation forever, and escape with their life, or, to deny the charges and keep their good name, but be hanged as a result. This is the severe test "the crucible "that faces those who are accused "lie to save your life, or to remain true to yourself and preserve your good name in the face of an unjust system. John Proctor is one such townsperson who is accused. After his wife Elizabeth is accused by Abigail "who wants Elizabeth gone so that she can have John, a desperate series of events leads Proctor to be charged. Forcing his servant girl to admit to the court that she and the other girls were faking so that he can save his wife only backfires. The servant girl, after admitting the truth, is then accused by Abigail and the other girls of witchery. To save herself, she changes her mind and states to the court that Proctor was with the devil and was forcing her to confess. Thus, Proctor himself ends up accused as well, and is thus torn between saving his life by "confessing- and saving his good name by denying. .
Set in late 17th Century New England, Arthur Miller's The Crucible, both in its stage play format and film format, is the story of a small town called Salem whose Puritan system virtually collapses in on itself. The entire premise of the story is clearly very much dependant on the time and place in which it is set. It could be said that the very town of Salem itself is a character, whose internal conflict is tearing it apart.