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The Crucible By Arthur Miller. Witch-Hunt  How do you define “witch-hunt”?  Examples of a “witch-hunt”?

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Presentation on theme: "The Crucible By Arthur Miller. Witch-Hunt  How do you define “witch-hunt”?  Examples of a “witch-hunt”?"— Presentation transcript:

1 The Crucible By Arthur Miller

2 Witch-Hunt  How do you define “witch-hunt”?  Examples of a “witch-hunt”?

3 The Crucible  A play / drama  Written by Arthur Miller  Published in 1953  Set in 1692 in the Plymouth Bay Colony, during the “Salem Witch Trials”  However, it’s an allegory for a “modern day witch hunt”

4 What does “crucible” mean? A severe and exhausting test A place or situation in which concentrated forces interact to cause or influence change or development A vessel of a very refractory material (as porcelain) used for melting a substance that requires a high degree of heat

5 The Salem Witch Trials  Like all Puritans, the residents of Salem Village believed in witches  Witchcraft: “entering into a compact with the devil in exchange for certain evil powers”  Witchcraft is a sin and a crime; it was a serious accusation that was thoroughly investigated

6 Salem Witch Trials  Early 1692: witchcraft hysteria hits Salem  Why?  Isolated lives of the Puritans  Starvation, disease, fears of the frontier, and severe weather = it must have been the work of the Devil!

7 How It Began  The daughter and niece of Rev. Samuel Parris began having fits of convulsions, hallucinations, and screaming  Upon a doctor’s examination, he concluded that witchcraft could be the only conclusion (as per a recently published book about witchcraft)  Girls accused Tituba, Rev. Parris’ slave, along with Sarah Good and Sarah Osborn, sparking a massive “witch hunt”

8 The Result  Over eight months, 150 people were imprisoned for witchcraft  27 convictions  19 hanged  1 pressed to death

9 But really... Why?  Politics: it was an opportunity for some people to “settle” land disputes  Spoiled food: ergot  Disease: enchephalitis, Lyme disease  As mentioned earlier... Fear, isolation, etc.

10 “Witch-Hunt”  The events that unfolded in Salem lead to the modern day term, witch-hunt  Witch-hunt: an intensive effort to discover and expose disloyalty, subversion, dishonesty, or the like, usually based on slight, doubtful, or irrelevant evidence. (dictionary.com)  actually used to harass and undermine those with differing views Which brings us to...

11 McCarthyism  Senator Joe McCarthy (R), Wisconsin,  Notorious figure of the Cold War  Gained power by manipulating America’s fear of Communism  Accused several prominent figures of subversion and communism

12 HUAC  House Un-American Activities Committee  Beginning in the late 1940’s, it called witnesses and investigated the entertainment industry for possible subversive behavior  Several directors and screenwriters refused to cooperate and were imprisoned  “blacklisted”: entertainment industry refused to hire artists and writers suspected of being Communists

13 Joseph McCarthy  Claimed that communists had infiltrated the Department of State  Over 300 people in the film industry were “blacklisted”  1954: career collapses when the Senate censured him for false accusations and abusing his colleagues  However, “McCarthyism” continued in many areas of American society

14 Arthur Miller   American playwright and screenwriter  Married to Marilyn Monroe for 5 years ( )  Wrote several famous plays including Death of a Salesman, The Crucible, and All My Sons

15 Arthur Miller  Published The Crucible in 1953  The Crucible was an allegory for McCarthyism  Allegory: figurative treatment of one subject under the guise of another; a symbolic or metaphorical narrative  In other words, The Crucible was an allegory because it was really about McCarthyism

16 Miller’s Beliefs  Miller felt that the hysteria surrounding the witch trials in Salem paralleled the climate of McCarthyism  He used The Crucible to attack Senator McCarthy  After publication of The Crucible, Miller was investigated by the HUAC for possible associations with the Communist Party  Miller admitted to attending meetings, but refused to give up names of colleagues. He was found guilty of contempt, but his sentence was overturned

17 Summary  Arthur Miller wrote The Crucible as an allegory  Salem Witch Trials paralleled McCarthyism  The play deals with a climate of mass hysteria


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