By Harold Bloom
The Crucible, Arthur Miller's vintage play concerning the witch-hunts and trials in seventeenth-century Salem, Massachusetts, is returning to Broadway. To mark the get together, Penguin is happy to supply this gorgeous hardcover version. "A strong drama." (Brooks Atkinson, the hot York occasions)
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Extra info for Arthur Miller's The Crucible (Bloom's Modern Critical Interpretations)
Furthermore, silence is connected, throughout the play, by both John and Danforth, with a stony coldness. ” (328). Giles Corey is pressed to death between stones because of his silence. Coldness and silence, furthermore, are very likely what prompted John’s adultery in the first place. . ” (323; Abigail: “she is a cold, sniveling woman” ). And coldness, of course, is also associated with the presence of the devil. ). What Miller seems to be getting at is that silence itself may be a kind of presumption, a kind of pride.
Morality, Miller suggests, is dependent upon recognizing and accepting our humanness—an acknowledgement which neither Proctor nor Parris nor any of the Puritans is willing to make. After all, the whole hysteria starts because Parris is incapable of dismissing his daughter’s and his niece’s juvenile midnight escapade for the child’s play that it really is. Proctor’s crime mirrors the crime of the children; his relentless accusations of himself are a version of Parris’s inhuman persecution of the innocents.
Let them that never lied die now to keep their souls. It is a pretense for me, a vanity that will not blind God nor keep my children out of the wind. (322–323) Elizabeth immediately confirms John in his belief that he is his own judge: “There be no higher judge under Heaven than Proctor is,” she exclaims (323); and she recurs to her martyristic definition of goodness: “I never knew such goodness in the world” (323). What is wrong with John’s decision to confess, as it is presented in the play, is not only that it is a lie, though this of course is crucial, but more subtly that it is based on a definition of “saint”-hood which is a heretical offence against Proctor’s own faith, a definition which depends upon setting oneself up as one’s own judge, judging one’s works and outer manifestations as evidences of sanctification or damnation.