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What is the setting in Arthur Miller's The Crucible?

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jagessar123 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 1, 2012 at 1:54 PM via web

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What is the setting in Arthur Miller's The Crucible?

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pirateteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted September 1, 2012 at 4:15 PM (Answer #1)

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The Crucible is set in the spring of 1692 in Salem, Massachusetts.  The first pages of exposition explain to the reader the differences between Salem and current towns.  Miller describes the town as being very simple- there are no vacations or holidays and no novels or sources of entertainment.  The focus of their day was on prayer and fighting the wilderness to stay alive.

The original people of Salem believed that they had created a New Jerusalem when they settled the area.  However, they believed that the devil was closeby, waiting to tempt them from their Christian ways.  Since they were not able to settle the nearby forests, home to the Native Americans, they believed it was the home of the devil.  To keep people out of this unclaimed territory, stories were passed down about friends and family members who had been "lost" to the woods.

The edge of the wilderness was close by. The American continent stretched endlessly west, and it was full of mystery for them. It stood, dark and threatening, over r theirshoulders night and day, for out of it Indian tribes marauded from time to time and Reverend Parris had parishioners who had lost relatives to these heathen.

The play ends in the fall of the same year.  The characters comment about the crops rotting in the fields and the cows roaming the streets with no one to take care of them.  These comments let us know that time has passed. 

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