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Context for "The Crucible" Arthur Miller (1953)

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chris soper

on 21 June 2011

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Transcript of Context for "The Crucible" Arthur Miller (1953)

"The Crucible" by Arthur Miller The Context Arthur Miller Arthur Miller was born in 1915 in New York City to a Jewish family. He has also written two novels: Focus (1945), and The Misfits. He has written many plays including Death of a Salesman (1949) which won the Pulitzer prize in 1949, and The Crucible (1953). Miller wrote The Crucible in 1953 during the McCarthy period when Americans were accusing each other of Pro-Communist beliefs. Many of Miller’s friends were being attacked as communists, and in 1956, Miller himself was brought before the House of Un-American Activities Committee (HUAAC) where he was found guilty of beliefs in Communism. Arthur Miller was born in 1915 in New York Cityto a Jewish family. The Salem Witch Trials The Salem witch trials occurred in colonial Massachusetts between 1692 and 1693. This lead to more than 200 people being accused of practicing witchcraft and it is thought that many were executed Centuries ago many practicing Christians, and those of other religions, had a strong belief that the Devil could give witches the power to harm others. The salem witch trials followed on from the European craze and was caused local circumstances In 1689, English rulers William and Mary started a war with France in the American colonies. This war caused much destruction and provoked people to seek refuge in Salem The increased population of Salem caused there to be a strain on resources which aggravated already existing disputes between families. Controversy also brewed over Reverend Samuel Parris, Salems first minister, and was disliked by the puritans, who came to believe that all the troubles in Salem were caused by the devil. A "witchcraft craze" took over Europe from the 1300s to the end of the 1600s. Hundreds of thousands of supposed witches—mostly women—were executed. Reverend Parris' daughter Elizabeth and niece Abigail Williams started having "fits." They screamed, threw things, uttered peculiar sounds and contorted themselves into strange positions, and a local doctor blamed the supernatural. Similar things happened to other people in the village. Under pressure from magistrates the girls blamed three women for afflicting them: Tituba, a Caribbean slave; Sarah Good, a homeless beggar; and Sarah Osborne, an elderly woman. All three women were brought before the local magistrates and interrogated for several days. Osborne claimed innocence, as did Good. But Tituba confessed, "The Devil came to me and bid me serve him." She described elaborate images of black dogs, red cats, yellow birds and a "black man" who wanted her to sign his book. She admitted that she signed the book and said there were several other witches looking to destroy the Puritans. All three women were put in jail. Over the next few months a stream of accusations against women were made. McCarthyism In 1950, republican senator Joseph McCarthy claimed he had a list of over 200 communists in th State Deparment, a list created by the FBI. McCarthy was amazed by the amount of publicity his comments got and responded to any criticisms of his claims by simply claiming they were un-american themselves. "McCarthyism is the practice of making accusations of disloyalty, subversion, or treason without proper regard for evidence" http://www.teachers-direct.co.uk/resources/quiz-busters/quiz-busters-game.aspx?game_id=58235
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