I need a summary of The Crucible.  

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I am assuming you need a plot summary of The Crucible, by Arthur Miller. Or perhaps you want a summary of the play's literary and social impact? There is no question that this play is widely read and studied in academic settings, and is still often performed. The play is set in 1692 and portrays the conditions and situations that caused the infamous Salem Witch Trials. Arthur Miller wrote the play in response to the McCarthy hearings on communism and the resulting blacklists; the play is an allegory of those events of the 1950s. The play is based upon historical documents, but also takes some liberty with facts to portray a dramatic situation. For example, at the heart of the play's dramatic conflict is the fact that Abigail Williams is in love with John Proctor and will do anything to take him from his wife, Elizabeth.

As the play opens, the Reverend Parris' daughter, Betty, is ill and there are rumors that witchcraft is the cause. Abigail, Parris' niece, denies the rumors of witchcraft, fearing her own activities will be blamed, since her uncle caught her dancing in the woods with other girls and performing rituals for Tituba, the slave from Barbados. But once the town begins to suspect witchcraft, Abigail realizes that by accusing Elizabeth she may be able to get closer to Proctor, and she manipulates the other girls (including Mary Warren, the Proctors' servant who replaces Abigail) into doing things that make Elizabeth look guilty. Other people of good reputations are accused by the girls. Magistrates come to Salem to try the accused. The "spectral evidence" of bewitchment (meaning the girls' playacting and pointing and histrionics, in absence of any actual physical evidence) is the basis for convicting and executing eighteen people who profess their innocence. Proctor and Elizabeth are both accused and thrown in prison, and Proctor agrees to confess to save his life. But at the last minute, he decides to tear up the confession so that he can die an honest man.

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