Arthur Miller wrote "The Crucible" as a commentary or parable on the United States during the McCarthy Era of the 1950s. It is written as historical fiction, however, through the play, Miller illuminated how the social injustice of the Puritan's witchcraft trials was no different than what was unfolding around him during the McCarthy Era.Know More
Arthur Miller saw people he knew being accused by Senator Joseph McCarthy and decided to create a social commentary through his play, "The Crucible." A common theme in most of Miller's plays is the personal and social responsibility to stand up to injustice from family and society.
During the Cold War, Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy led speeches, campaigns and trials against suspected Communists in the government, armed forces and even Hollywood. He used his accusatory techniques to stir up the country to paranoia, much like what happened with the witchcraft trails in Salem. McCarthy fed off of the public's fear of Communists to increase his popularity. Later, it was revealed he falsely accused many people, just like in Salem. In the 1950s "McCarthyism" came to refer to McCarthy's accusatory tactics and the general atmosphere of fear during the Cold War. Today the term "McCarthyist" refers to someone who slanders a political opponent's character with baseless attacks.Learn more about Plays
Arthur Miller is most famously known for his 1949 work "Death of a Salesman." However, Miller wrote several dozen plays during his lifetime, written between 1944 and 2004.Full Answer >
Arthur Miller was affected by McCarthyism in that he was subpoenaed to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee, or HUAC, as were many of those in the entertainment industry of the era. His play "The Crucible," though ostensibly about the Salem witch trials, was a veiled condemnation of McCarthy's hunt for communists.Full Answer >
In "The Crucible," Elizabeth accuses Abigail of having an affair with her husband John and banishes her from their home. Her accusation is correct, and John publicly admits to the affair. However, Elizabeth does not back him up, which ultimately causes the town to turn against him. As a result of Elizabeth's silence, John is executed.Full Answer >
One of the most well-known examples of a tragic hero in the works of Arthur Miller is the character Willy Loman from the play "Death of a Salesman." "Death of a Salesman" won the 1949 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for Best Play. The character Willy Loman represents Arthur Miller's belief that the ancient literary form of the tragedy should be democratized.Full Answer >