l, Set, Sound, And CI chose Arthur Miller’s The Crucible because of the plot’s dark history and suspense. Also because of the play’s reflection of McCarthyism. The so called “witch-hunts” for communist brought on by Senator Joseph.
The play is set in Salem, Massachusetts, 1692, where suspicions of witchcraft were floating around the town air. Act 1 starts out in early spring and ends in Act 4 when it is late fall. The play opens with Betty Parris sick in bed, and Reverend Parris tending to her, and wondering what made her so sick. Soon Abigail Williams saunters in, and through much probing, Reverend Parris eventually finds out that she, Tituba, Susanna Walcott and Betty were all involved together in a secret practicing of witchcraft. Abigail tells of a dance around a cauldron in the woods, and says that was all that happened. But, when Reverend Parris reveals how he was in the woods at that particular time, and saw the dances, Abigail gradually explains what went on, while leaving herself out as the main practitioner. She says she was forced into it all by the other girls and Tituba. Now the stage is set for a variety of unexpected accusations, scandals and tribulations.
The main characters are Abigial Williams, the “trouble maker” of the play, is the niece of Reverend Parris. Though only 13 years old she manages to get the whole village in an uproar. With the help of the other girls in the village, she fools the Salem council into thinking that the devil has inhabited certain citizens. Reverend Parris is the minister for Salem. He is a paranoid, power hungry man. He is more concerned about his reputation than his daughter and niece’s souls when the first rumors of witchcraft get under way. However, he quickly learns to take advantage of the witch craze for his own personal gain.
John Proctor had an affair with Abigail when she was his household servant. He hates hypocrisy, and his hidden sin causes him a great deal of moral anguish. He hesitates to expose Abigail as a fraud because he knows his own conscience is unclean. He does not try to expose her as a liar until it is too late. He is accused of witchcraft and convicted. He suffers a moral dilemma over the decision to confess or not to confess to witchcraft. He confessed his affair before Danforth and Hathorne because he refuses to allow his wife, Elizabeth Proctor, to suffer because of his wrongdoing. His dilemma regarding confession of witchcraft is the same: he does not want to save himself by sullying the good names of others.
Elizabeth Proctor is John Proctor’s wife. She fires Abigail when she discovered her husband was having a sexual affair with her. Abigail first becomes interested in witchcraft because she wants Tituba to concoct a charm to kill her. Abigail wants to take Elizabeth’s place as Proctor’s wife. Failing at that, Abigail accuses Elizabeth of witchcraft during the trials, hoping that Elizabeth will hang for the crime. Elizabeth is convicted of her crime, but her execution is delayed because she is pregnant. By the time she delivers, the craze has died down and her life is spared.
Tituba is Reverend Parris’s black slave from Barbados. She agrees to perform voodoo at the request of Abigail and Ruth’s mother. Parris catches her and the girls during a session which sparks the entire witch hunt craze.
Then at last is Marry Warren who is the servant for the Proctor household. At first, she is timid and easily ordered around by Proctor. After the trials start, she enjoys a position of power and authority and she defies Proctor’s right to order her around. But also gets caught in Abigails mind games.
I felt that a definite theme was diseption. Everyone in the village turned on each other, even own family members. Everyone had to watch their step or something so simple as cooking stew could send then straight to the gallows. Another was revenge. A lot of the people that found themselves on trial also found that the people accusing them of witchcraft, also had something against them or would profit from their execution.