the crucible

During a visit to Salem Massachusetts last year, I stumbled onto Arthur Miller's The Crucible in a bookshop. I figured there wouldn't be a better place to grab a copy, so I bought it and forgot about it.

All in all, I enjoyed the story. It was quick read and I enjoyed that most of the characters were ripped straight from actual events that occurred during the witch trials. Knowing about Giles Corey and his pressing makes the impact of it in the story much more intense. Remembering the spot where it occurred, how the townspeople would have gathered to watch him be slowly crushed. Recognizing a character's name from his real gravestone was an impactful experience, and one I hope I don't repeat.

The frantic dialog and the general absurdity made the play chaotic and engaging, and definitely made its message clear. As an allegory for McCarthyism, Miller did a great job of showing the lengths people will go to when they believe they are morally correct. The pervasiveness of this behavior pattern across time and place is alarming, and fits in to many situations we face in modern life.

To those in the midst of this mania, everything seems clear: the Devil has fallen upon Salem. Only with time does the chaos and confusion of the past become clear.