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The Crucible by Arthur Miller

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1 The Crucible by Arthur Miller
"Maybe all one can do is hope to end up with the right regrets."  -Arthur Miller

2 Arthur Miller Grew up during the Great Depression
Wrote screenplays for Hollywood Won a Pulitzer in 1949 for Death of a Salesman. 1953- wrote The Crucible based on Salem Witch Trials. He wrote the play during the McCarthy hearings when his friends were being attacked for pro- communist activities.

3 Some Other Facts Attended The University of Michigan for Journalism but graduated with a degree in English Wrote two short plays under the collective title of A View From The Bridge(1954); Married Marilyn Monroe (1956), wrote screenplays (Misfits) with roles for his wife, and divorced her (1961); She dies 1962 1965 – Miller was elected president of P.E.N, the international literary organization Numerous problems with the House of Un-American Activities Committee for being a “romantic Marxist”; After a nine year hiatus he returned with After the Fall – a seemingly autobiographical play about Marilyn Finishing the Picture – last play, depicted the making of Misfits.

4 Used the events but made changes
It is important to note that Miller used the events and names of those who were involved in the actual Salem Witch Trials… However, he made changes in order to create his story….. For example: Abigail Williams was 11 during the actual trials not 16 and did not have an affair with John Proctor. However she was involved in the accusations….

5 Arthur Miller & The Crucible:
When The Crucible opened in January of 1953, audiences noted the similarities between the Salem Witch Trials and the HUAC investigations. In 1956 Miller was called to testify before the committee. He was later convicted of Contempt of Congress for refusing to name persons seen at meetings organized by so-called Communist sympathizers. Miller’s conviction was overturned in 1958.

6 The Trial Before he sat before the committee, a congressman requested a signed Marilyn Monroe photograph, saying that the hearing would be dropped. Miller refused, just as he refused to give up any names. He stated, “I don’t believe a man has to become an informer in order to practice his profession freely in the United States.”

7 Arthur Miller….Playwright

8 From Accused to Cleared….

9 Human Nature and Universal Theme
“Witch hunt”- refers to any search for a scapegoat who can be blamed for all the ills of society and whose removal will eliminate the problems. Miller’s play depicts Human Nature’s role when fear and hysteria take over…..this is a universal quality that transcends time.

10 The Witch Hunt without Witches
McCarthyism The Witch Hunt without Witches

11 McCarthyism A term for the widespread accusations and investigations of suspected Communist activities in the U.S. during the 1950s.

12 McCarthyism Fed by the quick invention of the Soviet Atomic Bomb. It was assumed spies must have helped them. Blamed the problems of the U.S. on the supposed secret presence of Communists in the government

13 Joseph McCarthy Senator Joseph R. McCarthy was a little-known junior senator from Wisconsin. He claimed to possess a list of 205 card-carrying Communists employed in the U.S. Department of State.

14 Miller Speaks “McCarthy's power to stir fears of creeping Communism was not entirely based on illusion, of course; the paranoid, real or pretended, always secretes its pearl around a grain of fact.” -Arthur Miller


16 Loyalty Boards/ HUAC Loyalty boards investigated the federal workers under Truman’s command to search The senator created the Un- American Activities Committee (HUAC)

17 Loyalty Boards/ HUAC HUAC- most widely known for its investigations of suspected Communist influence in the late 1940s and early 1950s. 1947, HUAC subpoenaed 41 witnesses for its hearings on Communist influence in Hollywood.

18 The Hollywood 10 Ten of them, mostly writers and directors, refused to answer questions at first, denounced the committee, and were held in contempt of Congress. These witnesses became known as the “Hollywood Ten” and were “blacklisted” from the industry for many years afterward.

19 Why it Worked The Big Hollywood 10: 8 of 10 actors refused to appear in court and were sentenced to a year in prison The Waldorf statement: stated that 8 of the ten were to be fired The blacklist: Informally, if you were accused of communism you could not be hired

20 The Hollywood 10

21 The Deal McCarthyism is now used as a reference to “reckless public accusations of disloyalty to the U.S.” Friendly Witness: Testified and gave names of potential Communist sympathizers Unfriendly Witnesses: Either refused to testify at all or refused to give names.

22 Affects of McCarthyism
Innocent people’s careers ruined- three hundred and twenty artists were blacklisted (Among them were Arthur Miller and Charlie Chaplin.) Arthur Miller & The Crucible: Miller wrote The Crucible as an allegory for the unjust accusations of Joseph McCarthy.

23 The Crucible: The Human Condition
During McCarthyism, the United States was terrified of Communism's influence. Like the witches, communists were seen ingrained within every aspect of society. Miller was sent to jail for withholding information from the court, namely the names of those assumed to be communists. Many of Miller’s peers fearing the wrath of the court provided names of suspected communists in an attempt to save themselves. During both time periods (Salem and McCarthyism), the enemy did exist and people used fear to reach their own goals and fulfill hidden agendas.

24 The end of McCarthy 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.

25 How it ended…. In 1954, he made accusations against the US Army
Resulted in a nationally televised Senate investigation Censured by Senate in 1954.

26 Edward Murrow reflects on McCarthy

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