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The Crucible By Arthur Miller Essay

4573 words - 18 pages

The Crucible by Arthur Miller

John Proctor says, I'll tell you what's walking Salem,
vengeance is walking Salem. Discuss the real evil in Salem, who
contributed to it and their motives who do you blame the most?

John Proctor says, "I'll tell you what's walking Salem, vengeance is
walking Salem." Discuss the real evil in Salem, who contributed to it
and their motives who do you blame the most?

Before I begin to tell you my opinion on who was to blame, and my
reasoning for saying so, I will give you a brief insight into the real
point of Arthur Miller's play, The Crucible. Arthur Miller first
produced his play in 1953, in the middle of the McCarthy political
'witch-hunt', although the story had applied for playwright for many
years prior to this. This meant that the play was seen as a political
parable - it represented the goings on in actual political life.

Since 1938, an organisation had existed in America called the House
Un-American Activities Committee with the right to investigate any
movement, or anyone who seemed to put at risk America's safety. The
chairman of this was Senator Joseph McCarthy. Under his rule, the
committee became paranoid in its search for people who sympathised
with communists.

Almost any criticism of the government or its instructions was seen,
in the eyes of McCarthy, as an admission of devotion or loyalty to
communism beliefs. Witnesses were made to appear in court and answer
charges that they were sympathisers of communist followers, and made
to name others that they saw at these meetings which took place as
long as twenty years ago. Liberal writers, film directors and actors
all appeared before the committee and, as a result, many of them found
it hard to find future work in the American theatre or film industry.

In 1956, when the committee's power finally began to deteriorate,
Arthur Miller was summoned. He was asked to confess to signing his
name to a list of petitions that had been produced with his signature.

Miller, in his mind, began to link the activities of the Committee
with the witchcraft trials, which had taken place in Salem, an
American town, two centuries ago. For example, the Committee often had
possession of lists of people seen at various meetings, yet they still
wanted the witnesses to name names. Miller related these public
confessions to those that confessed to witchcraft, and falsely accused
others, in Salem.

In his autobiography, Timebends, Arthur Miller tells us that he had
known about the witchcraft experience from as far back as his college
days but it had remained in his mind. It was not until a copy of
Marion Starkey's book The Devil In Massachusetts fell into his hands
that he got the idea for his play, The Crucible.

In Salem, Massachusetts, 1692, a group of young girls experimented
with the supernatural world and, as a result, the jails were filled
with men and women, and twenty people were hanged. To understand why
...

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