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The Crucible By Arthur Miller Background Info Before You Read.

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Presentation on theme: "The Crucible By Arthur Miller Background Info Before You Read."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Crucible By Arthur Miller Background Info Before You Read

2  went to U. of Michigan and paid for it himself...after the depression?  married ___________ __________ in 1956; they divorced in 1961. At that time Marilyn was beyond saving. She died in 1962.  won Pulitzer Prize for ___________ ____ ____ _______________.

3  written in 1950s, but set in _______  based on the ________ _________ __________, which acted as a parable for the McCarthy era, in which similar * 'witch hunts' occurred targeting ____________ as ______________rather than disciples of Satan.  *According to American Heritage Dictionary, a ‘witch hunt’ is a political campaign launched on the pretext of investigating activities subversive to the state.

4  Cold War  *Wisconsin Senator Joseph _______________ was investigating people for their association with COMMUNISM  There was a HUNT for communists in America  people became ________________that communists were among them  called the “_____ _________ ” or the “Hunt for Reds” (reds refers to communists)

5  The House Committee on Un-American Activities (generally known as HUAC) also investigated communism within Hollywood, calling a number of playwrights, directors and actors known for left-wing views to testify. Although some of these, including film director Elia Kazan, testified for the committee to avoid prison sentences, but the Hollywood Ten, a group of entertainers, refused to testify and were convicted of contempt and sentenced to up to one year in prison. Over three hundred other entertainers were placed on a blacklist for possible communist views and were thus forbidden to work for major Hollywood studios (many of these were writers who worked under pseudonyms at the time, including Dalton Trumbo and Michael Wilson). Arthur Miller was one of these blacklisted. The blacklist prevented these men from receiving screen credit during this time, until actor Kirk Douglas pushed for Trumbo to receive screen credit for his adaptation of Spartacus for Stanley Kubrick in 1960, thus finally breaking the blacklist.

6  *Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy was an undistinguished member of the Senate until February 1950, when he made the public charge that 205 Communists had infiltrated the State department. Upon subsequent testimony before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, McCarthy proved unable to produce the name of any "card-carrying" communists, but he gained increasing popular support for his campaign of accusations. Although he was later denounced, he promoted unfounded accusations and suspicions of communism in many quarters, and is best known for his investigation of communists in the United States Army.

7  Miller saw a connection between the hunt for ___________ and the hunt for _______________.  Following WWII, the Cold War of the 1950s instilled a ________ of Communism as an unseen danger as strong as the fear of witches had been in 1692.  Some have criticized Miller for oversimplifying matters, in that while there were (as far as we know) no actual witches in ____________, there were certainly Communists in 1950s America. However, one can argue that Miller’s concern in _____ ________________ is not with whether the accused actually are witches, but rather with the unwillingness of the court officials to believe that they are not.

8  The church in 1692 was the __________ __________, meaning, the government in Salem is a ______________ by God through religious officials.  The Crucible is set in a theocratic society, in which the church and the state are _____, and the religion is a strict, austere form of Protestantism known as _________________.  Because of the theocratic nature of the society, ________ laws and ____________ laws are one and the same: _________ and the status of an individual’s _________ are matters of public concern.  There is no room for deviation from social norms, since any individual whose private life doesn’t conform to the established moral laws represents a threat not only to the public good but also to the rule of God and true religion.

9  In Salem, _____________ and ____________ belongs to either God or the Devil; dissent is not merely unlawful, it is associated with satanic activity.  This ________________ functions as the underlying logic behind the witch trials. “A person is either ________ this court, or he must be counted _________ it.”  A common misnomer: witches weren’t burned, they were ______________.

10  While Miller based this play on actual historical events, for creative purposes, many details in his play are not historically accurate.  John Proctor was not a farmer, he was a _________ owner.  John Proctor was in his _____ not 40s.  Elizabeth was his ____ wife.  Abigail Williams was only ____.  _______ __________ created the hysteria that caused the Salem Witch trials, but Miller excluded him from the play.

11  More than any other playwright working today, Arthur Miller has dedicated himself to the investigation of the moral plight of the white American working class. With a sense of realism and a strong ear for the American vernacular, Miller has created characters whose voices are an important part of the American landscape. His insight into the psychology of desperation and his ability to create stories that express the deepest meanings of struggle, have made him one of the most highly regarded and widely performed American playwrights. In his eighty-fifth year, Miller remains an active and important part of American theater.

12  Intolerance  Hysteria  Reputation/Appearance  Power  Moral Responsibility  Pride  Fear  Confession  Religion  Individuality/Repression

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