By Harold Bloom
The Crucible, Arthur Miller's vintage play in regards to the witch-hunts and trials in seventeenth-century Salem, Massachusetts, is returning to Broadway. To mark the celebration, Penguin is happy to provide this gorgeous hardcover version. "A strong drama." (Brooks Atkinson, the recent York instances)
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Extra info for Arthur Miller's The Crucible (Bloom's Modern Critical Interpretations)
Like so much historical fiction and drama, The Crucible forces a revolution in our perception and definition of reality. It causes what appears to us to be immediate and real—the present—to become dreamlike and subjective, while it enables what we assume to be the less stable aspects of our knowledge—the ghosts of the past—to assume a solidity they do not normally possess. ” What could be closer to the spirit of the Salem witch trials, in which people mistook illusions of guilt and sinfulness for “real” witches; in which they assumed a necessary correlation between inner goodness and outward manifestations of that grace?
Miller searches deep into American history, not to discover a convenient analogy to a contemporary problem, but to indicate the importance of registering the relativity and subjectivity of moral justice within the absolute moral principles of charity and humility and forgiveness. ” Since 1692 a great but superficial change has wiped out God’s beard and the Devil’s horns, but the world is still gripped between two diametrically opposed absolutes. The concept of unity, in which positive and negative are attributes of the same force, in which good and evil are relative, ever-changing, and always joined to the same phenomenon—such a concept is still reserved to the physical sciences and to the few who have grasped the history of ideas.
John Ferres. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, 1974. Driver, Tom. ” Arthur Miller: A Collection of Critical Essays. Ed. Robert Corrigan. Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 1969. Levin, David. In Defense of Historical Literature: Essays on American History, Autobiography, Drama, and Fiction. New York, 1967. Martin, Robert A. ” Modern Drama 20 (1977). Miller, Arthur. ” The Theater Essays of Arthur Miller. Ed. Robert A. Martin. New York, 1978. ———. ” Collected Plays. London, 1958. ———. ” The Theater Essays of Arthur Miller.