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The Crucible

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Sarah Applegate

on 17 March 2016

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Transcript of The Crucible

The Crucible
by Arthur Miller

Born in New York City
Moved to Brooklyn due to financial losses
Worked odd jobs to help with money
1934 entered University of Michigan using savings from a warehouse job
All My Sons
- first play - 1947
Death of a Salesman
- won Pulitzer Prize - 1949
The Crucible
- 1953
Married to Marilyn Monroe from 1956-1961
Published in 1953
Depicts the Salem Witch Trials of 1692
Allegory = an extended metaphor
The Crucible
Witch trials represent McCarthy hearings during the Cold War hysteria of 1950s
Fear of being accused a witch same as fear of being accused a Communist (no justice)
McCarthyism = practice of publicly accusing people of political disloyalty or subversion with insufficient regard to evidence (such as accusing people of being Communists)
Puritans have deep sense of sin and fear of God’s anger
Banned music, dancing, and theater as pleasures from Satan
Virtues of prudence (managing money), thrift, hard work, courage, and self-reliance
Land ownership important
Believed people are either good or evil no in-between
Morality outside individual, not inside (relates to idea of predestination)
Historical Background
Salem Witch Trials
Why Miller Wrote It
1692 in Salem Village, Massachusetts
No real evidence, only the accusations of several young girls
19 women and 2 dogs hanged
1 man pressed to death
150 prisoners awaited trial
Man’s loss of self due to conflicts between justice and evil
Individual integrity in the face of community violence and mass hysteria
Desperation - people were accused of being Communists without cause – people would condemn others out of fear
Lead to accusations that he was a Communist
Forced to testify in front of the House of Un-American Activities Committee (1956)
Refused to name names and was indicted for contempt of court
Integrity and Courage
Theme Topics
“I am not protecting the Communists or the Communist Party. I am trying to and will protect my sense of self. I could not use the name of another person and bring trouble to him.”
- Miller at HUAC questioning

Full transcript