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McCarthy, Blacklists, HUAC and Arthur Miller (the guy who wrote the Crucible…) How can an author use a historical situation to illustrate a current problem?

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Presentation on theme: "McCarthy, Blacklists, HUAC and Arthur Miller (the guy who wrote the Crucible…) How can an author use a historical situation to illustrate a current problem?"— Presentation transcript:

1 McCarthy, Blacklists, HUAC and Arthur Miller (the guy who wrote the Crucible…) How can an author use a historical situation to illustrate a current problem? Why did Miller write this play in the 1950’s, hundreds of years after the historical Salem Witch trials?

2 The Crucible Written by Arthur Miller ( ) Written by Arthur Miller ( ) The Crucible was first staged at the Martin Beck Theater on Broadway on January 22, 1953 when Miller was 38 years old. The Crucible was first staged at the Martin Beck Theater on Broadway on January 22, 1953 when Miller was 38 years old.

3 Quick 20 th century history lesson… 1919 – Communists overthrow Czar of Russia 1919 – Communists overthrow Czar of Russia “October Revolution” led to growth of the USSR “October Revolution” led to growth of the USSR Americans aware, but didn’t think it was important Americans aware, but didn’t think it was important American Communist American Communist Party created

4 THEN CAME WWII… Allies in WWII Allies in WWII Different political ideologies signaled beginning of COLD WAR Different political ideologies signaled beginning of COLD WAR Became very unpopular to be Communist in America Became very unpopular to be Communist in America Anyone who is or was Communist considered threat Anyone who is or was Communist considered threat Led to creation of HUAC Led to creation of HUAC

5 What is HUAC? HUAC stands for: HUAC stands for: House UnAmerican Activities Committee. House UnAmerican Activities Committee. Investigated everyone Investigated everyone 19 people named in Hollywood 19 people named in Hollywood Studios started creating Blacklists Studios started creating Blacklists People named and listed in hearings People named and listed in hearings Could not work anywhere Could not work anywhere

6 Who was blacklisted? Over 300 entertainers were placed on blacklists and one point or another, including: Charlie Chaplin (actor), Pete Seeger (folk singer), Richard Wright (writer), Dorothy Parker (writer), Leonard Berstein (movie composer). Over 300 entertainers were placed on blacklists and one point or another, including: Charlie Chaplin (actor), Pete Seeger (folk singer), Richard Wright (writer), Dorothy Parker (writer), Leonard Berstein (movie composer).

7 Then came 1950… Joseph McCarthy elected Joseph McCarthy elected Previously unknown; became instant household name Previously unknown; became instant household name Accused nearly everyone Accused nearly everyone Very rarely had evidence Very rarely had evidence Never proved plots to overthrow the country Never proved plots to overthrow the country

8 Eventually he targeted Arthur Miller Established playwright Established playwright Married to Marilyn Monroe Married to Marilyn Monroe Asked to name associates, but refused Asked to name associates, but refused

9 Parallels: 1950’s to the play Communism = witchcraft Communism = witchcraft HUAC, and McCarthy = the court, and Reverend Parris HUAC, and McCarthy = the court, and Reverend Parris Proctor = Arthur Miller Proctor = Arthur Miller Blacklists = list of condemned witches Blacklists = list of condemned witches McCarthy used his accusations for political and personal gain = Putnam and others used witchcraft hysteria for personal gain. Parris tried to hide behind his power. McCarthy used his accusations for political and personal gain = Putnam and others used witchcraft hysteria for personal gain. Parris tried to hide behind his power.

10 Endings…  McCarthy eventually lost power  Miller went on to be one of America’s most celebrated playwrights

11 What really caused the witch hysteria? Fungal poisoning! Fungal poisoning!


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