- The Crucible (Penguin Classics) © 1952
- 152 pages
There’s something refreshing about reading plays (something I don’t do nearly enough). It takes some serious literary wizardry to tell a compelling story within a mere few hours of dialogue.
Dialogue is (obviously) the foundation of any play, and Miller’s is snappy and engaging. It doesn’t take long to lose yourself in a mental picture of the ongoing discussions, arguments, and commiserations. Many of the lines are quote-worthy, especially this one.
The historical setting is the Salem Witch trials—a dark and tragic era of American history. The fourth act in particular brings this depravity to a head. I could almost hear the fifth movement of Berlioz’ Symphonie Fantastique echoing in the background while I read it.
You can’t go wrong with Arthur Miller.