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Intro to The Crucible & American Drama

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by

Jessica Clay

on 13 September 2012

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Transcript of Intro to The Crucible & American Drama

American Drama
& The Crucible Witchcraft American Drama The Crucible + Arthur Miller 1915-2005
American Playwright and Writer
In 1953 he wrote The Crucible, which uses the Salem witchcraft trials of 1692 to attack the anti-communist “witch hunts” of the 1950s.
He believed the hysteria surrounding the witch craft trials in Puritan New England paralleled the climate of McCarthyism – Senator Joseph McCarthy’s obsessive quest to uncover communist party infiltration of American institutions.
After the publication of the The Crucible, Miller himself was investigated for possible associations with the communist party.
He refused to give information regarding his colleagues and was found guilty of contempt of court. His sentence was later overturned. Plays are not finished in the same way poems or novels are because after they are written, they still need to come to life on stage.
Playwrights make the audience concerned for characters by focusing on conflicts.
The protagonist of a play is the major character who drives the action forward.
The Exposition, or Introduction gives the audience background information. Puritanism + Christian faith
Originated in England during the early 1600s.
Puritans believed in predestination.
They split from the Church of England in 1633.
Many emigrated to the American colonies.
Their radical beliefs flourished in their "new world". The Puritan residents of Salem Village believed in witches and in witchcraft.
Puritans believed that witchcraft was “entering into a compact with the devil in exchange for certain powers to do evil.”
Puritans considered witchcraft both a sin and a crime; it was a very serious accusation, which was carefully and thoroughly investigated. A recently published book of the time detailed the symptoms of witchcraft; the girls’ fits were much like those described in the book.
Therefore, the Puritans of Salem were quick to believe the doctor’s diagnosis. The girls point fingers at Tituba, Sarah Good, and Sarah Osborn, and spark a witch hunt. During the next eight months of terror, more than 150 people were imprisoned for witchcraft.
By the time court was dismissed, 27 people had been convicted, 19 hanged, and 1 pressed to death.
The hysteria that snowballed in Salem reveals how deep the belief in the supernatural ran in colonial America. + Mc Carthyism McCarthyism is the term used to describe a period of intense suspicion in the United States during the early 1950s.
It began when Senator Joseph McCarthy, a U.S. senator from Wisconsin, claimed that communists (Communists believe in putting the society before self. and Capitalism is a economic system where things (property, for example) are owned by people or an individual, not by a government or communities) had infiltrated the Department of State. A special House Committee on Un-American Activities was formed to investigate allegations of communism. During this period, people from all walks of life became the subjects of aggressive “witch hunts” often based on inconclusive, questionable evidence.
Persons accused of being communists were often denied employment in both the public and private sector.
In the film industry alone, over 300 actors, writers, and directors were denied work in the U.S.
American writer, Arthur Miller, was one of those alleged to have been “blacklisted.”
McCarthy’s influence finally faltered in 1954 when a famous CBS newsman, Edward R. Murrow, aired an investigative news report which revealed McCarthy as dishonest in his speeches and abusive in his interrogation of witnesses.
The public was finally made aware of how McCarthy was ruining the reputations of many individuals through false accusations of communism. Characters Theme: Intolerance
What are some examples intolerance in our society? Theme: hysteria

What are some causes of hysteria that you have seen? Theme: reputation How has technology changed the way we view others?
Full transcript