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10LIT - The Crucible: Home

This guide contains resources related to the study of 'The Crucible' by Arthur Miller.

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Rating: M   Year: 1996   Duration: 1:58:15

The Crucible is set in Massachusetts in 1692. In the small Puritan town, where one's life is dedicated to the service of God, several teenage girls are discovered in the woods and are accused of engaging in "the Devil's" work. As time goes by the village becomes consumed by cries of witchcraft. Stars Daniel Day-Lewis and Winona Ryder.

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Early in the year 1692, in the small Massachusetts village of Salem, a collection of girls fell ill, falling victim to hallucinations and seizures. In extremely religious Puritan New England, frightening or surprising occurrences were often attributed to the devil or his cohorts. The unfathomable sickness spurred fears of witchcraft, and it was not long before the girls, and then many other residents of Salem, began to accuse other villagers of consorting with devils and casting spells. Old grudges and jealousies spilled out into the open, fueling the atmosphere of hysteria. The Massachusetts government and judicial system, heavily influenced by religion, rolled into action. Within a few weeks, dozens of people were in jail on charges of witchcraft. By the time the fever had run its course, in late August 1692, nineteen people (and two dogs) had been convicted and hanged for witchcraft.

SparkNotes Editors. (2003). SparkNote on The Crucible. Retrieved May 26, 2016, from



The Puritans were strongly opposed to the Catholic Church. The Puritan colonists believed that the Church of England, also known as the Anglican church, should make more reforms to remove all the traces and trappings of the Roman Catholic Church. A Pilgrim was a member of a distinct group of puritans who were not only against the Anglican church but also called for total separation from the church. The religion practised in New England was strictly Puritan and the Puritans did not tolerate any other religions - refer to Pilgrims and Puritans.

Salem Witch Trials

A man helps an alleged witchcraft victim during the infamous Salem witch trials in Massachusetts.








During the late 1940s and early 1950s, U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy (1908-1957), a Wisconsin Republican, led a tidal wave of anticommunist political repression in the United States. McCarthy and his allies claimed that communists had infiltrated the federal government and other institutions, and were threatening the American way of life. The attacks were often baseless, but they nevertheless destroyed the careers of thousands of individuals, some of whom had done nothing more than attend a left-wing political meeting ten or fifteen years earlier. Originally associated with generic Cold War anticommunism, the term McCarthyism eventually came to refer to a particularly mean-spirited and groundless accusation based on paranoia and characterized by political grandstanding.

McCarthyism. (2009). In Gale Encyclopedia of U.S. History. Detroit: Gale. Retrieved from

Arthur Miller

Miller, ArthurArthur Miller,  in full Arthur Asher Miller,  (born October 17, 1915, New York, New York, U.S.—died February 10, 2005, Roxbury, Connecticut), American playwright, who combined social awareness with a searching concern for his characters’ inner lives. He is best known for Death of a Salesman (1949).

Arthur Miller. (2016). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from