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Presentation on theme: "ARTHUR MILLER, MCCARTHYISM, AND THE CRUCIBLE"— Presentation transcript:


2 WHO IS ARTHUR MILLER? Born in New York on Oct. 17, 1915, to the family of Isidore, a moderately rich Jewish ladies wear manufacturer and shopkeeper, and Augusta Miller Family was ruined in the Great Depression, and he had to work in an automobile parts warehouse to earn money for college

3 WHO IS ARTHUR MILLER? Studied journalism, but graduated in English from the University of Michigan. Married his college sweetheart Mary Slattery. Began writing plays while a student at the University of Michigan First successes--All My Sons (1947) and Death of a Salesman (1949) Condemned the American ideal of prosperity on the grounds that few can pursue it without making dangerous moral compromises.

4 WHO IS ARTHUR MILLER? He was one lucky guy! He married legendary actress Marilyn Monroe! Was married a total of three times. Wrote The Crucible in 1953. Was accused of being a Communist Died in 2005

5 The crucible is an allegory for mCcarthyism
An ALLEGORY is a story, poem, or picture that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning, typically a moral or political one. McCarthyism was also called The Red Scare Wanting to point out to the world the parallel between the unjust Salem Witch Trials of 1692 and the Red Scare from to 1956 Wrote The Crucible to make a powerful statement about the dangers of hysteria and the dehumanization that can result.

6 WHAT IS COMMUNISM? COMMUNISM is defined as a political theory derived from Karl Marx, advocating class war and leading to a society in which all property is publicly owned and each person works and is paid according to their abilities and needs. The color for Communism is RED. Symbol for Communism is the hammer and sickle Why is the symbol of Communism the hammer and sickle?

7 Joseph McCarthy and the HUAC
Who was Joseph McCarthy? Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin gained power by accusing others of subversion. In February 1950, a few months after the USSR detonated its first atomic device, McCarthy claimed to have a list of 205 Communists who worked in the State Department. Although his accusations remained unsupported and a Senate committee labeled them “a fraud and a hoax,” McCarthy won a national following. Branding the Democrats as a party of treason, he denounced his political foes as “soft on Communism” and called Truman’s loyal secretary of state, Dean Acheson, the “Red Dean.”

8 MCCARTHYISM McCarthyism came to mean false charges of disloyalty.
In September 1950, goaded by McCarthy, Congress passed the McCarran Internal Security Act, which established a Subversive Activities Control Board to monitor Communist influence in the United States.

9 MCCARTHYISM CONT. McCarthy’s influence continued until 1954, when the Senate censured him for abusing his colleagues. His career collapsed. Fears of subversion continued. Communities banned books; teachers, academics, civil servants, and entertainers lost jobs; unwarranted attacks ruined lives.

10 The huac & hollywood House Un-American Activities Committee(HUAC)
Committee questioned Americans who were suspected of being Communists They summoned thousands of people to testify Goal: to get as many names of “Communists” as possible

11 The huac & hollywood HUAC investigated communism within Hollywood, calling a number of playwrights, directors and actors known for left-wing views to testify. Some of these testified for the committee to avoid prison sentences The Hollywood Ten, a group of entertainers, refused to testify and were convicted of contempt and sentenced to up to one year in prison.

12 The huac & hollywood Certain politicians were also targetedhese people had two options: Admit to being a Communist and tell McCarthy names of other people who attended Communist meetings OR Refuse to admit anything (or rat out others) and be blacklisted Can’t get work if blacklisted!



15 Blacklisted Over 300 entertainers were placed on a blacklist for possible communist views and were thus forbidden to work for major Hollywood studios. Arthur Miller was one of those blacklisted. Miller admitted to the HUAC that he had attended meetings, but denied that he was a Communist.

16 BLACKLISTED Attended four or five writer’s meeting sponsored by the Communist Party in 1947, supported a Peace Conference at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York, and signed many appeals and protests Refusing to name others who had associated with leftist or suspected Communist groups, Miller was cited for contempt of Congre

17 IMAGINE IF IT WAS YOU…… Even if you had no Communism in your own past, you could easily be in the same position as Arthur Miller- you knew someone who did. That was more than enough to get you in trouble with Senator McCarthy and similar investigators. Imagine what it was like being called in to testify. McCarthy or his aides might say, “Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of the Communist Party?” No. “Do you know anyone who is or was a Communist?” No. McCarthy holds up some cards. “We have the names of people who have already confessed.

18 IMAGINE IF IT WAS YOU…… Your name came up in connection with their testimony. Why do you suppose that is?” You say you don’t know, but you can tell that no one believes you. Maybe you’re not so innocent after all, you think. Have you signed anything, donated any money, said anything to anybody that might sound suspicious? You begin to feel guilty either way: even if you don’t have any Communist connections, you’ve done nothing to stop the spread of this evil. You did it, it’s your fault, their questions seem to say. And they won’t let you go until you make up for it in some way. So you tell them about your friend who’s never home on Tuesday nights, or anyone you know who’s been acting a little odd the last few weeks. You name names, and they let you go. And afterward no one wants anything to do with you. You were called in to testify, there had to be a reason. You must be a Communist, or at least have been working for them. You lose your friends, your job, sometimes even your family.

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.

Miller wanted to point out to the world the amazing parallel between the unjust Salem Witch Trials of 1692 and the Red Scare from to 1956 Miller wrote The Crucible to make a powerful statement about the dangers of hysteria and the dehumanization that can result.


22 1692 SALEM WITCH TRIALS Puritans had been persecuted in their native England, but they created a theocracy and eventually persecuted others. Puritans became embroiled in hysteria over the existence of witches. Most accused of being witches were women.

23 1692 SALEM WITCH TRIALS Many accused of being witches were healers and used plants to heal people. Many of the accused were without families, which made them easy targets. They were people who did not fit in with the mainstream of Puritan society.

It began as a way for the oppressed girls to avoid being punished. It then became an ideal way to get revenge on anyone whom you disliked. People started accusing their neighbors of being witches so they could steal their farmland. People accused others of being witches if they wanted to steal their husbands or wives or possessions.

25 What does “crucible” mean?
A severe test A place or situation in which concentrated forces interact to cause or influence change or development

A good deal of the information in the play misrepresents the literal events of the trial: at the time of the trial, John Proctor was sixty years old and Abigail Williams only eleven. The play is a parable for the McCarthy era, in which similar “witch hunts” occurred targeting citizens as communists rather than disciples of the devil.

27 The crucible character introduction
PROTAGONIST – Main Character ANTAGONIST – Who or What the Protagonist is Fighting Against VS

28 Abigail Williams Leader of the group of girls Having an affair with John Proctor Smart, Manipulative, Jealous

29 JOHN PROCTOR Farmer Married but having an affair with Abigail
Proud and (usually) honest

30 ELIZABETH PROCTOR John Proctor’s Wife Moral and honest Sometimes seen as “cold”

31 THE GIRLS Betty Parris: Daughter of the town minister
Ruth Putnam: Daughter of a wealthy, greedy landowner Mary Warren: Servant of the Proctors Mercy Lewis: Servant of the Putnams

32 Reverend parris Town Minister Paranoid
Concerned with what others think of him

33 JOHN HALE “EXPERT” on Witchcraft
Asked to come to Salem for his knowledge Intelligent and Logical

34 TITUBA Slave from Barbados Performs Voodoo Accused of Witchcraft

GILES COREY (my favorite!) Old man who is pressed to death. Outspoken Files lawsuits frequently REBECCA NURSE Kind, older woman accused of witchcraft Very moral and sensible


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