The Crucible

The Crucible

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.

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