The Universal Theme of The Crucible by Arthur Miller Essay

The Universal Theme of The Crucible by Arthur Miller Essay

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[1] Why after all this time did Arthur Miller allow his play, The Crucible, to be converted to film? For decades, he refused to allow a film version because he thought movies were subordinate to the written word. Finally in the early 1990’s, he not only permitted the film version but also supported it by writing the screenplay. To answer this question we should first find out his reasons for writing the original play. Miller wrote the original play, The Crucible, in the 1950’s, which was during the McCarthy Era, when people were afraid of being condemned by Senator Joseph McCarthy and his party for being supposedly associated with the communist party. Miller wrote the play in relation to the times. He used the Salem witch trials setting because he saw that the nation was going through the same situation that Salem was in back in 1692. Miller said in an interview, “It seemed to me that the hysteria in Salem had a certain inner procedure or several which were duplicating once again, and that perhaps by revealing the nature of that procedure some light could be thrown on what we were doing ourselves” (Crucible CD-Rom).

[2] Miller saw how prominent people and scholars of the 1950’s were taking Joseph McCarthy seriously when they should have seen him for the crazy drunk he was. McCarthy should not have received any credibility, but he knew how to manipulate the public. There was a wave of paranoia toward Communism, and McCarthy magnified this fear. Miller partly wrote the play because he wanted to voice his opinion against McCarthy, but he also wanted to deal with this phenomenon that was happening before him. He saw good people being manipulated and being swept away by McCarthy, and it was a wonder to him. So...


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...New York: Penguin Books, 1994.

The Crucible Project. Ed. Leah Marquis. November 1999. http://204.165.132.2:90/crucible/main3.htm

Fender, Stephen. “Precision and Pseudo Precision in The Crucible.” Arthur Miller The Crucible: Text and Criticism. Ed. Gerald Weales. Philadelphia: Penguin Books, 1977. 272-89.

Hill, Frances. A Delusion of Satan: The Full Story of the Salem Witch Trials. New York: Doubleday, 1995.

Levin, David. “Salem Witchcraft in Recent Fiction and Drama.” Arthur Miller The Crucible: Text and Criticism. Ed. Gerald Weales. Philadelphia: Penguin Books, 1977. 248-54.

Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance. OCRT. 13 November 1999. http://www.religioustolerance.org/
http://www.religioustolerance.org/ra_mcmar.htm

Schrecker, Ellen. Many Are The Crimes: McCarthyism in America. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1998.

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