What Genre is The Crucible considered?

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The Crucible falls into the genre of historical drama. Like the historical novel, this type of play is based on real-life events but with fictional elements added. Generally an author will use such a format because he or she finds modern or contemporaneous parallels with the past. Miller sees the...

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The Crucible falls into the genre of historical drama. Like the historical novel, this type of play is based on real-life events but with fictional elements added. Generally an author will use such a format because he or she finds modern or contemporaneous parallels with the past. Miller sees the witch hunts of late seventeenth-century New England as a distant mirror of the McCarthyism of the 1950's. In both cases an atmosphere of hysteria develops in which people feel pressured to conform to a mob mentality regarding a victimized group.

Virtually every famous instance of historical drama shows this same pattern of an author essentially re-interpreting history and projecting his own thoughts and concerns onto past events. Shakespeare, for instance, in Richard III, does not give us the historic truth about the Wars of the Roses but a re-interpreted "truth" that supports the reigning Tudor family of his time and its defeat of the Yorkist faction in 1485, as well as its re-uniting of England by the joining in marriage of the Lancaster and York families. Miller's purpose in The Crucible is similarly to give a fictionalized version of historical reality that conveys a modern message about the susceptibility of people to paranoia and the herd mentality.

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It is a play; it is loosly based on the stories of witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts. It would be considered historical fiction since it is based on these events. It is also a paradoxycal allegory since the title The Crucible is also a vessel in which metals are heated and refined.

The play is representative of the McCarthy era witch hunts of the 1950s when persons with opinions differing from that of the mainstream of society were accused of being anti-American. Arthur Miller (author of this play) was even accused of Un-American activities during this time.  "The Crucible is seen as more of a commentary on McCarthyism than on the actual witch trials at Salem. "(http://www.enotes.com/crucible)

It is not an accurate history of these events since some of the events in the play did not take place in real life incidents surrounding the stories of witchcraft at Salem.  And other occurrences involved with the Salem witch trials are changed around to suit the dramatic elements of the play.

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