Analysis Of The Crucible By Arthur Miller

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Arthur Miller’s The Crucible is considered to be one of his finest works. Although set in the 1600s, The Crucible is a sharp critique of the social and political climate of the day: fresh out of the Second World War, victorious but with bloody memories and deep scars, the United States plunged directly into a three-decade long stand-off with the Soviet Union. The “Cold War”, as it would become known, was marked not by armed conflict, but by political and economic tension, fears of espionage, infiltration, and an ever looming threat of nuclear disaster. Although “fought” for a myriad of reasons, many looked at the Cold War as a war of ideologies: Democracy (championed by the great United States) vs communism (championed by “the bad Russia”), and for the majority of American people, it was a battle of biblical proportions: the classic “Good vs Evil”, “God vs Satan”. During the late 1940s and early 1950s, the Nation was plagued by The Red Scare: Soviet “invasion” via distribution of communist propaganda. These years were marked by a simmering panic and fear – and at a rolling boil with McCarthyism and a witch-hunt for communists.
It is against this backdrop that Miller penned The Crucible. In an attempt to publicly decry the hysteria and proceedings, Miller invokes an infamous and reviled event widely considered to be a black mark on the nation’s history, in which the American credos of tolerance and justice were defiled. In The Crucible, Miller patently compares the communist witch hunt with the famously discredited Salem witch hunt, parodies the agitators of the Red Scare, and perhaps most provocatively, implies that the American people and government are complicit in its horrors.
By using the literary technique of Histori...

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...e also imprisoned for their stance against Judge Danforth’s court.
A celebrity of the day, Miller risked his career and standing by challenging the quid pro quo. He called for justice and truth in a chaotic world filled with deception and fear – and promptly branded a communist sympathizer and forced to close the play after a run of only two months. By using Historicism to help understand the symbolism in The Crucible, a better perspective can be gained of the time period that Arthur Miller wrote it in. As you can see, Historicism elements are visible through the representation of political figures as characters and through the comparison between The Red Scare and a witch hunt. Arthur Miller once said, “One of the strongest urges in a writer’s heart and perhaps most especially the Americans’, is to reveal what has been hidden and denied, and rend the evil.”