Characterization is, simply, the art by which an author creates a character. The author needs to be aware of how much to divulge about a character, when to divulge the information, and to provide either direct or indirect characterization.
That being said, Arthur Miller, in The Crucible, provides wonderful characterizations of those depicted in the play.
Perhaps the most intriguing character in the play is Abigail Williams. Abigail is the force responsible for putting the witch hysteria into action. She, by far, is the most deceiving and morally unjust character in the play. Miller provides perfect details which support her role as one of the true villains of the play.
Another character so perfectly characterized is Elizabeth Proctor. Elizabeth embodies the character of the true God-fearing Puritan. While there is only one place in the play where her good nature falters, it does so to protect the man that she loves.
Therefore, Miller uses characterization to provide the reader, or watcher, of the play with a very deep understanding of the characters and their role in the play's action. Not one character is questionable regarding their impact on the outcome of the play's end. Each is characterized so perfectly that one cannot question how the hysteria broke out and the reasons the accusations began to fly.