The iconic play “The Crucible” by Arthur Miller is was one of the most influential plays of the 20th century. One of the reasons that the play was so groundbreaking was due to the events on which the play was based. The Salem Witch Trials of 1692 and 1693 were a very interesting and significant period in American history.
The Salem Witch Trials were a very interesting and strange series of events. In June of 1692, 19 men and women were charged to death on accounts of witchcraft. They were hung on Gallows Hill, near Salem Village. The trials began when a girl named Betty Parris fell ill to an unknown cause. Some now believe that she became sick by ingesting Ergot. Ergot is commonly found in Rye which was often eaten in abundance at that time. The drug LSD is derived from Ergot.
The village members however had another idea for why the poor girl became sick. The believed that the young woman had been cursed by witchcraft. The talk of witchcraft in the village grew and grew. It took over the village of Salem and 19 people ended up dying for it.
The story of a Salem is a strange and sombering one. It is a dark spot in American history. The Salem Witch Trials caused us to take a renewed look at the judicial system in America. Playwright Arthur Miller saw the significance of the event and wrote his masterpiece, “The Crucible.”
The Witchcraft Trials in Salem: A Commentary