"The Crucible" is about the Salem witch trials in 1692. Several young girls claim to be afflicted by witchcraft, starting with Reverend Paris's daughter Betty. The afflicted girls accuse people in the town of witchcraft, often choosing victims who they or their families dislike.
The main antagonist Abigail Williams falls in love with married farmer John Proctor. When Proctor tells Williams he no longer is in love with her, Abigail states that John's wife Elizabeth has bewitched Abigail. Proctor realizes that he has put his wife in danger and eventually confesses his affair with Abigail, attempting to clear his wife's name. Pious and grandmotherly Rebecca Nurse is accused of killing the babies of the contemptuous, loud-mouthed and threatening Putnam family. Another character accused of witchcraft is Martha Corey, third wife of well-liked and defiant Giles Corey. Giles Corey ends up getting pressed to death because he refuses to identify an informant who said Thomas Putnam is accusing people of witchcraft to gain their land. Proctor, at first, confesses to witchcraft but then changes his mind as he realizes he needs to keep his name clean, as it is the only honest thing he still has. Martha Corey and Rebecca Nurse also refuse to falsely confess to witchcraft. Proctor, Martha Corey and Rebecca Nurse are hanged for witchcraft.