The Crucible is a play written by Arthur Miller, a great twentieth century author. It is set in early 1600's Salem, Massachusetts during the Puritan era. During that time many witch trials were held, which this play describes. The Puritans believed in many superstitions including witchcraft and appointed their Priests as the judges of those accused of it.
The play begins with the girls of the village running off into the woods where Tituba, the servant of Minister Parris, is supposed to make magic spells so that certain boys of the town would like the girls. Minister Parris stumbles upon them in the woods, and they are so afraid, because the laws of the Puritans were so strict, that they went into hysterics. The way that the judging of witches was conducted was that if the accused confessed to witchcraft, they would lose their land but were spared their life because the person had confessed their sin. If the accused did not confess, that was looked upon the same way as if they were guilty, and they were killed. A denial was not proof of innocence. If the accused did confess, they were required to give the names of other people that they "saw with the devil", so the girls just gave out random names or the names of people that they didn't like.
This story was written by Miller to be a metaphor for the McCarthy era. During that time the United States government was looking for communist spies because the U.S. was at war with all of the communist countries of the world. They were holding trials much like the Salem witch trials. If a person were to be accused, just that could ruin their life, and people used accusations of communism to get rid of competition or just people they didn't like.
The Crucible applies to everyday life in that people today act in fear, jealousy, and just plain avoidance of responsibility. Today, a person can blame racism on their failure and have special provisions made for them because they say that they have been discriminated against. Back then they blamed witches and superstitions for things not going the way they wanted or something going wrong.
In conclusion, I would like to say that The Crucible was a very good explanation of how the Salem Witch Trials were conducted, and probably a good metaphor for the McCarthy Hearings. It is a very engaging story, and teaches us about some aspects of human nature