Arthur Miller's "The Crucible"

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Arthur Miller's "The Crucible"

'The Crucible' was written in 1952 by the twentieth century American

playwright Arthur Miller (1915-.) Miller was born in New York and

educated at the University of Michigan where he began to write plays.

Most of Miller's plays are set in contemporary America and on the

whole offer a realistic portrayal of life and society and the theme of

self-realization is re-current e.g. John Proctor in 'The Crucible'.

'The Crucible' was the third play Miller wrote. It is a play about the

Salem Witchcraft Trials of 1692 in Salem, Massachusetts. It was used

as a parable for McCarthyism in America in the 1950s. Miller's play

'The Crucible' has recently been made into a hugely successful film

that stars Hollywood actress Winona Ryder showing its enduring themes.

The play concentrates on key figures of the trials: Abigail Williams,

Mary Warren, John Proctor, Elizabeth Proctor and Reverend Samuel

Parris. These were all real people trapped in the devastation of the

time.

The disturbing storyline powerfully depicts people under pressure and

certain issues involved, Senator Joseph McCarthy; an important figure

in the USA in the 1950's is mentioned somewhat in 'The Crucible.' For

instance; a certain similarity between the Salem Witchcraft Trials and

McCarthyism was the fact that they both failed to make a plausible

case against anyone, both their colourful and cleverly presented

accusations drove people out of their jobs (and in 'The Crucible') and

their towns and brought popular condemnation to others. The

persecution of innocent souls is apparent in both Senator Joseph

McCarthy's work and of 'The Crucible.' McCarthyism was when all left

wing views were arraigned for un-American activiti...

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...his essay.

The witchcraft trials in Salem were remarkable, mainly for the numbers

involved. Before the witchcraft hysteria was over the girls had

pointed the finger at hundreds of supposed witches, not only in Salem

but also in places far apart such as Andover and Charleston. They even

accused people they did not know e.g. Abigail accused Hales wife whom

she had never met. By October 1692 doubts had set in about the girl's

testimony. In December 1692 Governor Phillips appointed a new session

of the Superior Court of Judicature to clear the jails, and issued a

general pardon to all persons still under suspicion. By this time,

however, nineteen people had been hanged, one pressed to death under a

pile of rocks (Giles Corey) for refusing to speak at his own trial,

and at least two more people had died in prison, bringing the number

of deaths to twenty-two.

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