The Crucible

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					 The Crucible
by Arthur Miller
  Historical Context
        Arthur Miller (1915-2005)
   Known and respected for his intimate and
    realistic portrayal of the working class, Arthur
    Miller remains one of the most prolific
    playwrights of his time. At the peak of his career
    immediately following World War II, American
    theater was transformed by his profound ability
    to capture the heart of the common man and
    make his audiences empathize with his plight as
    he attempts to find his war in an often harsh
    and unsympathetic world.
                         Arthur Miller
 1915     Born in Harlem, New York City
 1938     Graduates from University of Michigan
 1949     Death of a Salesman opens on
            Broadway directed by Elia Kazan.
           Miller earns the Pulitzer Prize.
   1953   The Crucible opens on Broadway and
            wins a Tony Award
   1956   Miller is called before the HUAC. Eight
           days later he marries Marilyn Monroe
   1957   Miller is found guilty of contempt for
           refusing to name names to HUAC. Two
           months later his conviction is reversed.
   2005   Miller dies in Connecticut
             Historical Context:

   In 1950, Arthur Miller wrote The Crucible
    as a parallel between the Salem Witch
    Trials and the current events that were
    spreading throughout the United States at
    the time. A similar “witch hunt” was
    happening in the United States—and this
    time, the accused were those who were a
    part of the Communist Party or who were
    Communist sympathizers.
                    The Red Scare
   Shortly after the end of
    World War I, a “Red
    Scare” took hold of the
    nation. The “Reds”
    (Communists)were seen
    as a threat to the
    democracy of the United
    States. Fear, paranoia,
    and hysteria gripped the
    nation, and many
    innocent people were
    questioned and then
    jailed for expressing any
    view which was seen as
    anti-Democratic or anti-
        HUAC (1938 – 1975)
    House Un-American Activities
 Originally aimed at German-American
  involvement in Nazi and Ku Klux Klan activity.
 HUAC concentrates on investigating the
  American Communist Party, fearing it had
  infiltrated the United States Government.
 HUAC called people before the committee to
  testify about Communist involvement.
      Hollywood Became a Target
   The HUAC established
    that Communist beliefs
    were being spread via
    mass media. At this
    time, movies were
    becoming more liberal,
    and therefore, were
    believed to be a threat;
    many felt that
    Hollywood was
    attempting to
    Communist beliefs.
    Senator Joseph McCarthy
On February 9, 1950 …
Senator McCarthy declared that the State
  Department, with the full knowledge of the
  Secretary of State, had become infested with
  Reds (Communists)

He had no direct involvement
with the House committee,
But his free-flung accusations
fed the paranoia the country felt.
    McCarthy Trials and McCarthyism
   By 1951, a new flourish
    of accusations began and
    a new wave were
    subpoenaed to “name
    names”—to snitch on
    those who were
    Communists or believed
    to be Communist

   Later, the terms McCarthy
    Trials and McCarthyism
    were coined, which
    described the anti-
    Communist movement
    and trials of the 1950s.
Witnesses had three options:
   Claim they were not members
      of the Communist Party
   Admit membership
      and be forced to name other members
   Refuse to answer questions
      and serve between six and twelve months in jail.
The Crucible
         Arthur Miller wrote The
          Crucible in 1953, after
          witnessing first-hand the
          modern witch-hunt that had
          taken place in the United
          States. Miller wrote the
          controversial play as an
          allegory, a play which
          represents something much
          deeper. In this case, the
          story is about the Salem
          witch trials of the 1690s,
          but warns of history
          repeating these tragic
          events on the 1950s.

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