Salem, Massachusettes in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible

Salem 1630: Pioneer Village in Winter 2008. PHOTO CREDIT: Erik K. Smith . This photo is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

“The meetinghouse was nearby, and from this point outward – toward the bay or inland – there were a few small-windowed, dark houses snuggling against the raw Massachusetts winter. Salem had been established hardly forty years before. To the European world the whole province was a barbaric frontier inhabited by a sect of fanatics who, nevertheless, were shipping out products of slowly increasing quantity and value.”1

In Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, the town of Salem, Massachusetts is thrown into chaos when a group of girls are found dancing in the woods with a black slave, believed to be practicing witchcraft. When these compromised girls are brought forward for questioning, they began accusing several prominent citizens of being witches and communing with the Devil, thereby igniting accusation and suspicion in the hypocritical town. Before long, the Salem Witch Trials begin, and family values and friendships are tested as everyone eagerly seeks to cover up their own sins by accusing others of evil and witchcraft.

Salem, Massachusetts is a city in the United States, whose significance and attraction for tourists lies in its being the location of the Salem witch trials of 1692. Being a city of strong Puritan beliefs and disinterest in outsiders, the community developed a reputation for being easily led by suspicion as any unusual activity was immediately blown into a full out degradation against God. Since the trials, tourism has been the prevalent booster of Salem’s economy, as many visit hoping to experience its haunting aspects, especially during Halloween.

Read more about Salem on Wikipedia. Find book at a local library or on Amazon.

1Miller, Arthur. The Crucible: A Play in Four Acts. New York, NY: Penguin, 2003. Print.

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