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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.
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.