Literary Tradition In The Crucible

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In January 1953, the American playwright Arthur Miller debuted his new play “The Crucible” on Broadway in New York City. It tells the story of the speculative, baseless hysteria and witch trials that took place during the seventeenth century in the village of Salem, Massachusetts and the horrific calamity that ensued. It examines the haunting reality of a society based on rigid, religious customs, superstitious norms and how these can be used as a weapon and prey on people’s irrational fears. Based on real people and actual events, “The Crucible” tells story of a gaggle of teenage girls, led by the protagonist Abigail, ‘confess’ to having seen various women and men of the town of Salem with the devil. This hysteria of witchcraft sweeps over the village - even the authorities fall under the sway of these lying young girls. Caught in the middle of these hysterics is the family of John and Elizabeth Proctor, who have struggled in the past due to John once having an affair with Abigail when she was employed by the Proctors, but are trying to rebuild their…show more content…
This reductive literary tradition of portraying women as inherently crazy by authors is well explored in the book The Madwomen in the Attic: The Women Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination by Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar. In their tome of literary criticism, Gilbert and Gubar delve deeply through a feminist rereading of many celebrated 19th century literary works by female (and male) authors and quickly came to see the challenges these female writers encountered and the mechanisms they used as to navigate the confines of such tropes out of the scholarly and literary tools left from their male writer
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