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The Crucible

Arthur Miller

Arthur Miller
The son of Polish-Jewish immigrants,
Arthur Miller was born on October 17,
1915, in New York City, died 2002.
Married 3 times:
1. First wife Mary Slattery was his
college sweetheart.
2. Second wife Marilyn Monroe
3. Inge Morath

Miller & Marilyn

His daughter, Rebecca Miller, is


married to Daniel Day Lewis, who
starred in the film version of The
Crucible(1996).

The Crucible
The Crucible was written in 1953.
It is a dramatization of the Salem Witch
Trials that took place during 1692 and
1693.
Today it is studied all around the world
because of its exploration of justice and
its reflections on 1950s America.

Allegory
Miller wrote the play as an allegory to McCarthyism.
An allegory is like a long metaphor. People have to use their
imagination to understand what it is trying to say. A fable is a
short allegory with a moral. It is often used as a way of criticizing
things or people where it would not be possible to do so directly.

For example:
Jonathan Swift wrote Gulliver's Travels, which tells about the
strange customs of made-up countries, but he was really
criticizing things about his own country, the UK.
Animal Farm by George Orwell is an allegory of the Soviet Union
during the Russian Revolution.

Joseph McCarthy

McCarthyism
Senator Joseph McCarthy gained popularity by
claiming there was a communist threat from Russia.
Many people in America were frightened by
communism post WW2.
Many people, including intellectuals and celebrities,
were arraigned before the court, ostracized and
condemned.
Miller himself was questioned by the House of
Representatives Committee on Un -American
Activities Committee in 1956 and convicted of
"contempt of Congress" for refusing to identify others
present at meetings he had attended.

Puritans
In 1692 the majority of residents in Salem ( the setting
of The Crucible )were Puritans.
Salem was a theocratic society.
The Puritans left England after disputing the authority
of the King, claiming that the head of the church was
Christ not the King.
They believed in the supreme power of God and were
frightened by the devil.
People were expected to go to church and observe the
Sabbath.
Religious leaders were powerful members of society.

Puritans
Society was hierarchical. Husband over wife,
parents over children and masters over
servants.
They disapproved of Christmas celebrations,
festivities on a Saturday night, games of
chance, drama and dancing.
They valued education, believing that all
should be able to read the bible and the law.
People who did not conform were accused of
witchcraft.

Salem Witch Trials


The trials took place in 1692.
No other community experienced such
widespread panic and terror.
At first the Puritans wished to convert the Native
Americans. When they resisted, the Puritans decided
they were agents of the devil who had to be destroyed.
There were also rival factions
in the community.
A slave, Tituba from Barbados, was
an exotic presence for the young girls
of a repressed colony and fuelled the fires
of suspicion.