There’s a pretty decent chance that you read Arthur Miller’s play The Crucible, written in 1953 as a response to the actions of Senator Joseph McCarthy and the House Un-American Activities Committee*, in high school. Or college. Or maybe you were a nerdy teen who loved history and/or bonnets. If that’s true, and you still find yourself thinking “wow Mary Warren you are such a drag,” then your people are on Tik Tok, and they are calling for you.
They also might have seen you speaking with the devil.
Welcome to CrucibleTok! Have you checked under your bed for poppets lately?
For those unfamiliar with Miller’s play or any of its adaptations and revivals (it’s an opera and a ballet!), The Crucible dramatizes the Salem witch trials and largely focuses on John and Elizabeth Proctor (played by Daniel Day-Lewis and Joan Allen in a 1996 film version), Abigail Williams (Winona Ryder), who accuses the latter of “speakin’ with the devil,” and the people of the town who get swept up in the fervor. (Giles Cory, it didn’t have to happen that way.) It is not a story one expects to have a whole corner of TikTok to itself—it’s not exactly Frozen or Mean Girls, though it does include suspicion of dark magic like the former and some mean girls, like the latter. Yet here we are! CrucibleTok! What a time to be alive.
The undisputed queen bee of CrucibleTok is @bequietjoe, who is, bless him, unafraid to let the bit get truly weird.
This piece could consist of nothing but Hegyes-as-Abigail videos and still go on for some time, but he’s not alone! Crucible Tok is not just his thing, it’s a whole thing.
There are some deep cuts.
There’s even some commentary on the goings-on of Salem and who is and isn’t speaking out.
It’s just... it’s so specific.
Has anyone alerted the mad geniuses behind the SparkNotes Twitter account of this development? It seems like the kind of thing they’d be into.
The morals are these: First, never underestimate the power of a joke you think is too niche to appeal to others; second, don’t accuse people of speaking with the devil.
* Miller writes in the essay linked above, a lengthy piece timed to the release of the 1996 film adaptation, “As with most humans, panic sleeps in one unlighted corner of my soul.” It seemed like that might be a quote that would resonate with some of you out there? Maybe? Have a nice weekend?