Rating: 4 out of 5
It is a story of providence and truth. I remember going through this play about a decade ago and it was not as remarkable as it is now — for one, the added familiarity with the outside world allows me to see either a Proctor or Danworth in the people around us. Some have indeed made our hearts so cold as not to hear the voice of reason; especially when that voice speaks in different “languages” to which we are normally accustomed to.
I think this is a masterpiece and yet a subtle one — the underlying question of this play’s subject could confound many a person. I found the easiest summary when I termed this as a story of fearing something different within our own community. As such, this story has an eerie echo in nearly every time and place — there are endless parallels to be drawn. Just think, who would be the group we would try, and on what trumped up charges, in the modern day?.. Not that it isn’t already going on…
Of course, however, the play is also only the glorified version of the story of accusing someone. In the modern version, there is no sense of honesty — for everyone is guilty though the degree to which varies — unlike the play, where indeed some characters are scrupulously clean of any wrongdoing and yet end up convicted (Giles’s ending was a perfect illustration). It could also be that the motives are less clear — few of us now desire the farm of our neighbour or can even gain it by a careful whisper while secret understandings go ten layers deep and stretch across years. Therefore, the one question to always ask is still: “Who benefits from this?”