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Arthur Miller's classic parable of mass hysteria draws a chilling parallel between the Salem witch-hunt of 1692 - 'one of the strangest and most awful chapters in human history' - and the American anti-communist purges led by Senator McCarthy in the 1950s. The story of how the small community of Salem is stirred into madness by superstition, paranoia and malice, culminating in a violent climax, is a savage attack on the evils of mindless persecution and the terrifying power of false accusations.A depiction of innocent men and women destroyed by malicious rumour, The Crucible is also a powerful indictment of McCarthyism and the 'frontier mentality' of Cold War America.
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About the Author

American dramatist Arthur Miller was born in New York City in 1915. In 1938 Miller won awards for his comedy The Grass Still Grows. His major achievement was Death of a Salesman, which won the 1949 Pulitzer Prize for drama and the 1949 New York Drama Critics' Circle Award. The Crucible was aimed at the widespread congressional investigation of subversive activities in the US; the drama won the 1953 Tony Award. Miller's autobiography, Timebends: A Life was published in 1987.

Reviews

Gr 10 Up‘This collection of 13 critical essays, averaging 12 pages in length and dating from the 1960s to the 1990s, is meant to represent the "best current criticism on the most widely read [literature] of the Western world." Addressing both positive and negative aspects of The Crucible, the articles deal with such topics as the language, character analysis, feminist perspectives, and the play as a courtroom drama. A chronology of Miller's life, notes on the contributors, and a comprehensive index round out the volume. Because the articles are not duplicated in the "Contemporary Literary Criticism" series (Gale), Bloom's book will be useful as a circulating companion to that reference resource.‘Michele Snyder, Chappaqua Public Library, NY

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