The Crucible by Arthur Miller is a historical play, but more importantly a social and psychological drama. The diverse ways the themes are developed through The Crucible are through characters, plot, setting and dialogue.
The importance of the witch-trials is, that in themthe moral crisis of a society is explicit, is directly enacted and stated, in such a way that the quality of the whole way of life is purely present and evident in the qualities of persons.? This is a dramatic device that enables the author to explore the evil forces in Salem society by the disclosure of witchcraft. Rebecca nurse warns thatthere is prodigious danger in the seeking of loose spirits. I fear it. I fear it. Let us rather blame ourselves!? (28). Although, her warning is not noticed and a Pandora's box is opened. We see the greed of Thomas Putnam; the quest for revenge on those who have persecuted them, which is carried out by Martha Corey and Abigail Williams. Ann Putnam's jealousy over Rebecca Nurse and Abigail's jealousy of Elizabeth Proctor, and the ambition of Hale and Parris, both of whom seek public approval; the fear of punishment that initially motivates Abigail and the other girls; then the revealing in power they display during the trial. Above all The Crucible investigates the mass hysteria which infects the whole community.
The concept of evil is central to The Crucible. To understand the play without thinking about what Miller is trying to say on the subject is not possible. It is obvious that we are looking at evilness as it is after all, the story of a witch-trial, and involves a good deal of both physical and spiritual cruelty. What is not so obvious is that the author is setting up two different models of evil. He shows us what people take it to be, and then demonstrates that they have got it largely wrong. They are looking in the wrong place, chasing the wrong people, and prosecuting the supposedly wicked and leaving the genuinely bad untouched.