The Crucible: genre

The Crucible: genre

The Crucible: Drama Play Genres

  • The Crucible primarily adheres to the genre of a drama but can also be categorised as - historical drama, tragedy, and political allegory.

Historical Drama

  • Set in 17th-century Puritan New England, The Crucible is a representation of the Salem witch trials, a significant historical event of 1692.


  • Written by Arthur Miller as a tragedy, it streams the downfall of the protagonist, John Proctor, a virtuous character succumbs to the weight of societal pressures and personal shortcomings.
  • The play powerfully portrays the ruinous potential of socially enforced norms and exhibits the catastrophic outcomes when humans fail to distinguish truth from lies.

Political Allegory

  • Beyond its historical backdrop, The Crucible metaphorically presents political witch-hunts, alluding specifically to the era of McCarthyism in the United States of the 1950s.
  • Miller capitalises on the witch hunt scenario to illustrate the destructive force of irrational fear, mass hysteria, and baseless allegations, marking the damage to individuals and society.

Theme Exploration through Genre

  • The Crucible’s genre enables an exploration of themes like intolerance, hysteria, reputation, and power.
  • Understanding these genres helps students gain insight into how a playwright employs various genres to exhibit themes, build characters, and project messages.
  • This comprehension is pivotal for effective interpretation and understanding of the play, reflecting on the wider implications it holds for society and human nature.