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Free Study Guide-The Crucible by Arthur Miller-Free Booknotes Summary
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IMPORTANT / KEY FACTS SUMMARY

Title: The Crucible

Author: Arthur Miller

Date Published: 1953

Meaning of Title: A crucible is a vessel in which metal melted for the purposes of casting. It can also refer, metaphorically, to a time in history when great political, social, and cultural changes are in force, where society is seemingly being melted down and recast into a new mold.

Genre: Tragedy

Point of View: Presented as a play in the present tense. There is some interjection by a third-person omniscient narrator.


Setting: Salem, Massachusetts during the American colonial period. 1692

Protagonist: John Proctor

Antagonist: Abigail Williams

Climax: The climax occurs when John Proctor testifies against Abigail, even though it means the loss of his reputation.

Major Themes: The problem of making the right moral choice and the necessity of sacrifice as a means of redemption. Both these themes, of course, take place in the context of the larger struggle of good versus evil.

Minor Themes: Hysteria; The parallels of the evils and events of the McCarthy era, which provided the initial inspiration for the play.

Important Motifs: Resentment, Accusations, confessions, the trials.

Mood: Dark, serious, and tragic.

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