What do we learn in the opening narrative that is important to the events that follow?
Readers of Miller's play "The Crucible" can learn many things from the opening narrative about the events to follow. While there are very direct statements which one can use to highlight upcoming events, there are many more ways one could examine the imagery provided in the opening narrative which one could justify as important foreshadowing.
The mentioning of the date, 1692, is one large clue as to what is to come. The linking with Salem makes the historical date even that much more important. One who knows their history can easily recall the Salem witch trials happened during this period.
The narrow window to the left (as described in the opening) could be used to illustrate the narrow ideologies which the Puritans held. These ideologies led to the witch trials and the hysteria which happened.
Miller offers readers a very direct characterization of who Reverend Parris is. The opening narrative states that he had "cut a villainous path" and "there is very little good to be said for him." This lets readers know that Parris is not a man to be trusted and that the people of the town do not like him.
One last part of the introduction allows readers to see the impending threat of something dark bearing down on the village.
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 their shoulders 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.
This quote allows readers to see the darkness which lies just at the edge of the village. While it is not the Indians which the villagers need worry about, the imagery of darkness is.