How does the setting of The Crucible set the atmosphere and tone of the story?
The Crucible takes place in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1692. Salem, a city near Boston, was part of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, which was founded by Puritans. The Puritans ruled the colony as a theocracy, a government in which religious leaders were in control and religion was the law of the land. Puritans saw the world as a battle between good versus evil, and they saw the woods and lands outside their towns as the devil's domain. This establishes the paranoid tone of The Crucible, in which the Puritans believe witchcraft is at work, and establishes an atmosphere in which people still believe in witches' power to control them and wreak havoc in the town. In 1692, a witch hunt actually occurred in Salem, and 20 people were executed. Miller bases his play on some of these real events.