Themes abound in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible. In a conversation with our own Commissioner Mary Dempsey, Steppenwolf Theater’s Artistic Director Martha Lavey discussed the theme of personal convictions coming into conflict with societal norms and expectations. This question most clearly weighs on John Proctor, who struggles between his morality and his role in a closed society with rigorous ideas about how one should conduct one self. It’s a fine line he must walk and a hard choice he faces at the conclusion of the play.
Another theme that runs deep in Miller’s work is that of truth and how it is defined and perceived. This was the topic of a panel discussion held as part of our One Book event in the fall of 2007, “Nothing But the Truth.” The panelists included: Rob Warden from Northwestern University’s Center on Wrongful Conviction; Steve Huntley, Sun-Times columnist; Bernardine Dohrn, from Northwestern’s Children & FamilyJusticeCenter; with U.S. District Court Judge David Coar moderating. The panelists enjoyed a lively back and forth that is well worth a listen, here.