The Arthur Miller Play
- Anvilicious: A common accusation of many Miller plays, then and now.
- Alternate Character Interpretation: The usually-omitted Act 2, Scene 2 provides a lot of additional material for some people who interpret Abigail as being completely insane, rather than coldbloodedly telling lies and playing the court to get what she wants.
- Some people feel that Act 2, Scene 2 actually makes it easier to understand Abigail, since even though her reasons are messed up, at least she has a reason to accuse so many people. Omitting this scene and she (and the other girls) will appear to accuse these people to death for almost no reason at all other than to win over Proctor's bed. Though the scene would have averted from empathizing the extent of the coldblooded cruelty that occurred in history.
- Act 2, Scene 2 can also be played as Abigail deliberately "believing" her own lies and playing to Proctor's doubt and pity in an attempt to make even him find her sympathetic or at least deluded, rather than ruthless — her plan, such as it is, relies on him not completely despising her, and it wouldn't be any less far-fetched than what's going on in the courtroom.
- Applicability: When the play was staged in China in the early 1980s, people had just recovered from the pains of the "Cultural Revolution" (1966-76). In the play, they found the similarities between history and The Crucible. This explained why the play received such a warm welcome at that time.
- Base-Breaking Character:
- Abigail. Either she is a Magnificent Bitch who managed to achieve mass murder via manipulation, or she is a major Karma Houdini who doomed the more sympathetic characters like John and Elizabeth Proctor, Rebecca Nurse, and even Mary Warren, who suffers a nervous breakdown after the girl she had been loyal to accuses her of withcraft.
- Mary is also a contentious figure. While she is a tragic character who's constantly beaten and manipulated, she's so weak and prone to switching sides (and is eventually the one who dooms Proctor) that for many she's an annoyance.
- Fridge Logic: John doesn't know his wife is pregnant. Assuming they're telling the truth, how exactly would that work?
- Either she had been in prison long enough that she didn't know herself when she was arrested, or she simply hadn't told him she suspected she was. There were no pregnancy tests back then, and bad nutrition can make you skip periods. Until recently, a woman wasn't positive she was pregnant until she was probably five or six months along.
- Life Imitates Art: Three years after the play was produced, Miller was summoned before HUAC; he refused to name names, and was sentenced to prison for contempt of Congress, though this was overturned on appeal.
- The best part was how they took offense at the play being compared with their investigations, and grilled Miller on whether this had been intentional (it had, of course). His reply? "The comparison is inevitable, sir."
- Moral Event Horizon: Just where Abigail crosses this is difficult to judge, but her lowest point might be when she accuses Mary of witchcraft to save her own hide, and more or less drives the poor girl completely insane with fear. She then has the gall to feign sympathy for her when she completely breaks down.
Mary: I won't hurt you anymore, Abby... (sobs into Abigail's arms)
- Tear Jerker:
- Oh Proctor...
- Also the scene with Mr. Jacobs.
- The ending is already a massive tearjerker, but the film makes it even worse: not only do they show John, Rebecca, and Martha getting hanged, but they all begin reciting the Lord's Prayer as their last words. Rebecca and Martha both get hung as they're speaking, and John gets hung right before he can say "Amen." And then it just ends.
- Abigail manipulating Mary by accusing her of witchcraft, making her break down. If you didn't have a reason to hate Abigail already, you definitely will after that.
- Values Dissonance: Tituba's depiction in the play is fairly racist, with her speaking in broken English despite the real life person having been on English colony since she was a child, so her English should be as fluent everyone else's.
- The Woobie: Proctor, Elizabeth, Hale, and Mary. Also Rebecca, who was originally believed to be the nicest person in Salem.
The Film Adaptation
- Evil is Sexy: Abigail. Though underage, she is played by Winona Ryder.
- Nightmare Fuel: The scene in the forest. Originally, Tituba was creating a love spell so that the men the girls chose for the ritual would fall in love with them, uttering an eerie chant to go with it. Then Abigail kills the chicken Tituba was using and drinks some of its blood. Those other girls go crazy and start screaming and dancing around.
The Korean Movie
- Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: And considering the recent ban on corporal punishment in South Korean schools, the scrapping of the statute of limitations on the reporting of sex crimes and the introduction of longer minimum sentences as part of overhaul on legislation surrounding abuse, the anvils seem to be having the desired effect.
- Squick: The movie is really graphic during the rape scenes.
- Tear Jerker: The scene after Min-su commits suicide. Everyone who was protesting about the light punishment of the Lee twins gets hosed by the police. During the chaos In-ho holds up a framed picture of Min-su and brokenly says "This child's name is Min-su...he cannot hear or even speak." It's heartbreaking because he keeps getting knocked over by the hose but he keeps getting back up.
- Values Dissonance: Western audiences may be confused by In-ho's slow response to the obvious abuses occurring around him, but as corporal punishment was legal and widespread in South Korean schools until very recently, he's bound to be slow on the uptake.
- What an Idiot: After Min-su's suicide, the police officer tries to break up the rally by speaking into a megaphone. To deaf people.