How is jealousy portrayed in The Crucible

The witches of Salem


At the turn of the 18th century in Salem, New England, some residents were charged with witchcraft and executed. An entire congregation is urged by the pastor to fear the devil rather than to love God.

John Proctor, rejected by his prudish and strict wife, falls in love with the 16-year-old maid Abigail, who not only wants a fleeting adventure, but property and reputation. When Elisabeth Proctor chases her out of the house, Abigail accuses her of witchcraft in revenge. Proctor wants to avert the impending disaster from his wife, confesses to adultery with Abigail and is now himself the victim of a crowd charged with pogrom mood and prudery.


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03.12.2019 | 11:43 a.m. Martin
If you read the names of the people who were involved in this film, it is not easy to see that the European elite (1957) took part here. Unfortunately, that cannot hide the fact that the film based on Arthur Miller's original is a bit dusty today. In addition, the topic is presented in a very complex and very detailed manner (two and a half hours). The characters change their approach several times, making understanding more difficult. It creates confusion if this means death once, but then an acquittal a little later.
Despite everything that makes this film so special, the fact that it is one of the few co-productions between the GDR and France is perhaps the only one.
The literary model is the play by Arthur Miller ’Witch Hunt‘ (The Crucible). The script was written by Jean-Paul Sartre, behind the camera was Claude from the Renoir clan, alongside Marguerite as editor, who was also from the family, and the music was by Hanns Eisler. A trio dominated the scene in front of the camera: Yves Montand (John Proctor), Simone Signoret (Elizabeth Proctor) (one of the couple's rare appearances together!) And the incarnate sin Mylène Demongeot (here as debutante Abigail). (The name of which the East German production ‘Abi-geil‘ pronounces.)
Although Miller is referring to the communist hunter McCarthy, the action takes place in 17th century Massachusetts with fundamentalist Puritans.
Elizabeth drives John out of the marital bedroom. The maid Abigail uses this. A drama of spurned love, witchcraft and false accusations emerges from this. All of this drives the fundamentalist Puritans into mass hysteria, a group of girls succumb to Satanism, which can only be overcome with exorcism. John the adulterer is in league with the devil. Elizabeth shows generosity towards her rival, because for her justice matters more than her petty jealousy. That costs John his head. The young Michel Piccoli has a cameo.
John vacillates between lust and the lust for murder, his wife between devotion and task and Abigail tries to be a seductive devil who has to fail. Heavy fare, a real treat for connoisseurs. An intellectual construct that is based on true events, but that in no way facilitates understanding. The ending is very theatrical with pathos that is difficult to bear today.


All credits


World premiere (DD): April 26th, 1957, Berlin, Babylon, Collosseum


  • Original title (DD) Die Hexen von Salem
  • Original title (FR) Les sorcières de Salem
  • Another title (US) The Crucible
  • Another title (DE) witch hunt




World premiere (DD): April 26th, 1957, Berlin, Babylon, Collosseum