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.Continue Reading
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 >
A crucible is defined as a container that can withstand intense heat and also is a severe test, both of which apply to the subject of the play. Arthur Miller wrote "The Crucible" in 1953, depicting the events of the Salem witch trials of the mid to late 1600s.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 >
The McCarthy hearings, which sought to root out communists in the U.S. government during the early 1950s, inspired Arthur Miller to write "The Crucible." Although the play's setting is the 17th-century Salem witch trials, Miller equated the fear, hysteria and danger of the witch hunt with the hearings.Full Answer >