Presentation on theme: "Arthur Miller’s. The Title of the Play...Why The Crucible? “A vessel, usually porcelain, used for melting material that requires a high degree of heat”"— Presentation transcript:
The Title of the Play...Why The Crucible? “A vessel, usually porcelain, used for melting material that requires a high degree of heat” Makes metal strong through intense heat and pressure Removes impurities from the “base” ore Imagery of fire, heat, pressure, burning, passion, hellfire, “brews,” etc. throughout the play
Arthur Miller Life –Born in 1915 –Married in 1956 Marilyn Monroe Works –Political / Social Commentary All My Sons Death of a Salesman –Considered the most gifted living American playwright in the 40’s and 50’s Awards – Pulitzer Prize – Tony Awards (7)
America’s Most Controversial Playwright 1954 The State Department refused to issue him a passport to attend the European opening of his play, The CrucibleThe State Department refused to issue him a passport to attend the European opening of his play, The Crucible –Suspected of supporting the Communist movement. –Communism Advocated eliminating private propertyAdvocated eliminating private property All goods were to be owned in common by everyoneAll goods were to be owned in common by everyone Available to all according to needAvailable to all according to need The Cold War against Communism was on most Americans’ minds at this time.The Cold War against Communism was on most Americans’ minds at this time.
The Cold War Began shortly after WWII Relations between USSR and America strained –International “stare down” Little to no actual fighting between two countries –(hence Cold War)
Senator Joseph McCarthy's “Witch Hunt” A U.S Senator Preyed upon the populace’s fear of communist infiltration and subversion –“Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of the Communist party?” Led pointed, and biased, trials against “suspected” communists These trials were reactionary by nature HUAC (House Committee on Un-American Activities of Congress) called Miller to a hearing.HUAC (House Committee on Un-American Activities of Congress) called Miller to a hearing.
A Liberal, NOT A Communist A very political personA very political person –Liberal thinker politically and economically Denied any involvement or sympathy with the Communist Party.Denied any involvement or sympathy with the Communist Party. Under interrogation, he refused to name suspected Communist sympathizers.Under interrogation, he refused to name suspected Communist sympathizers.
The Connection?! (an Analogy) Salem Witch Trials of 1692 –Communist “witch hunt” of the 1950’s Parallels periods of persecution found in any period of history –Hitler’s annihilation Jews –The internment of 100,000 Japanese-Americans after Pearl Harbor –The ostracism of AIDS victims “So in one sense The Crucible was an attempt to make life real again, palpable and structured. One hoped that a work of art might illuminate the tragic absurdities of an anterior work of art that was called reality, but was not.” ~ Arthur Miller to The Guardian / The Observer 2000 “I thought that in terms of this play, the witch hunts in Salem nearly 300 years ago were similar to the anti-Communist hysteria in our country.” ~Arthur Miller on a talk show
Salem Witch Trial Facts 2 dogs executed –Suspected accomplices 5 died in jail –Awaiting Trial / Sentencing 1 died –Torture –Pressed to death by stones 19 executed –Hanged 47 –Confessed to witchcraft Over 160 –Accused of witchcraft Events began –Late February 1692 Lasted –Through April 1693 Most cases began based on “spectral evidence” –Based upon dreams and visions –Accused “sent” his/her spirit out of the body to harm / harass accuser
Causes of Witchcraft Hysteria Honest belief that evil forces were working in the world Ergot poisoning –Caused by a fungus growing on rotting grains –Same fungus from which LSD is derived Teenage boredom –Most accusations came from a group of 8 young girls Politics, feuds, and greed
Would you rather… Claim Innocence –Possessions taken and sold –Family left homeless –No legacy for offspring –Death by hanging Confess –Name other witches –Retain your land and possessions –Live