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A brief introduction to.  American playwright and essayist  1915-2005  Attended the University of Michigan  Notable Works:  Death of a Salesman 

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Presentation on theme: "A brief introduction to.  American playwright and essayist  1915-2005  Attended the University of Michigan  Notable Works:  Death of a Salesman "— Presentation transcript:

1 A brief introduction to

2  American playwright and essayist   Attended the University of Michigan  Notable Works:  Death of a Salesman  The Crucible  A View from the Bridge  Won Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1949

3  Considered by many to be one of the greatest dramatists of the 20 th century  Death of a Salesman an award-winning play, protagonist Willy Loman an iconic character  Married to Marilyn Monroe ( )

4  A dramatization of the Salem witchcraft trials ( )  An allegory for McCarthyism  A central work in the canon of American drama  Premiered in 1953 in New York City

5 Why Arthur Miller wrote The Crucible Arthur Miller, one of America’s most famous playwrights, lived during the 1950s and experienced the Communist hysteria of the era. People thought their were Commies everywhere and one man, Senator Joseph McCarthy, made it his personal mission to find Communists and destroy their lives by bringing them before something called the HOUSE UNAMERICAN ACTIVITIES COMMITTEE. Arthur Miller, one of America’s most famous playwrights, lived during the 1950s and experienced the Communist hysteria of the era. People thought their were Commies everywhere and one man, Senator Joseph McCarthy, made it his personal mission to find Communists and destroy their lives by bringing them before something called the HOUSE UNAMERICAN ACTIVITIES COMMITTEE.

6 Senator McCarthy accused many people— actors, writers, people in media, people in the military — of being Communists. He held hearings where people were commanded to give names of other Communists in order for leniency. People were afraid they might be named as Communists, and it was called the Red Scare. (‘Red’ was a word used for a Communist.) Senator McCarthy accused many people— actors, writers, people in media, people in the military — of being Communists. He held hearings where people were commanded to give names of other Communists in order for leniency. People were afraid they might be named as Communists, and it was called the Red Scare. (‘Red’ was a word used for a Communist.)

7 McCarthyism  McCarthyism is the term used to describe a period of intense suspicion in the United States during the early 1950s.  It began when Senator Joseph McCarthy, a U.S. senator from Wisconsin, claimed that communists had infiltrated the Department of State.  A special House Committee on Un-American Activities was formed to investigate allegations of communism.  During this period, people from all walks of life became the subjects of aggressive “witch hunts” often based on inconclusive, questionable evidence.

8 McCarthyism  Persons accused of being communists were often denied employment in both the public and private sector.  In the film industry alone, over 300 actors, writers, and directors were denied work in the U.S.  American writer, Arthur Miller, was one of those alleged to have been “blacklisted.”

9 McCarthyism McCarthy’s influence finally faltered in 1954 when a famous CBS newsman, Edward R. Murrow, aired an investigative news report which revealed McCarthy as dishonest in his speeches and abusive in his interrogation of witnesses. The public was finally made aware of how McCarthy was ruining the reputations of many individuals through false accusations of communism.

10 Arthur Miller  In 1953 he wrote The Crucible, which uses the Salem witchcraft trials of 1692 to attack the anti-communist “witch hunts” of the 1950s.  He believed the hysteria surrounding the witch craft trials in Puritan New England paralleled the climate of McCarthyism – Senator Joseph McCarthy’s obsessive quest to uncover communist party infiltration of American institutions.  After the publication of the The Crucible, Miller himself was investigated for possible associations with the communist party.  He refused to give information regarding his colleagues and was found guilty of contempt of court. His sentence was later overturned.

11  The Crucible was Arthur Miller’s way of protesting the House Unamerican Activities Committee hearings. He compared the Communist hearings to the witch hunts of Salem, where gossip, rumors, and fear were evidence enough to convict people.  The term “witch hunt” now applies to any activity where people are looking for a scapegoat or where they are using accusations to get revenge or to get personal gain or attention.


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