The crucible act one
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First performed in January of 1953 at the height of America's red scare, The Crucible is first and foremost a political argument, relating the Salem witchcraft trials to their contemporary equivalent in Miller's time, the McCarthy hearings. The figurative 'witch hunt' of McCarthyism becomes literal in Miller's play, which is constructed to illustrate how fear and hysteria mixed with an atmosphere of persecution may lead to tragically unjust consequences. Miller presents the play with traditional theatrical devices, relying on the dialogue and situations to illustrate his themes, but finds these somewhat insufficient. In the first act, the play therefore contains a number of historical digressions that reveal the motivations of each character and which cannot be accurately conveyed through a strict stage interpretation.