What Was Arthur Miller’s Political Outlook?

The political outlook of the playwright Arthur Miller was heavily critical of the United States, the so-called “American dream” and the McCarthyism of the 1950s. He was influenced by his experiences of the Wall Street Crash and Great Depression, which all but destroyed his otherwise affluent parents. Miller considered the Great Depression to have had a defining impact on American culture, one whose reach was comparable to that of the Civil War.

Most of Miller’s works had strong political or social messages.

With its period setting, “The Crucible” was relatively unique within Miller’s oeuvre, but it was also one of his most socially conscious and politically relevant, allegorizing the “Red Scare” McCarthyism that was sweeping the nation at the time. Set in 1692, it told the story of the hysterical culture of fear and suspicion that surrounded the Salem witch trials, drawing parallels with the government stance on Communism and other activities vaguely defined as “Un-American.”

As a result of this play, which was released several years after his critically acclaimed “Death of a Salesman,” the government refused to renew his passport and called him before a special committee meeting. Here, they attempted to coerce him into spying on their behalf, but, true to form, Miller refused to co-operate.

Until his death in February 2005, Miller remained socially and politically engaged, both in theater and other media.