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An Analytical Essay Explaining Why Arthur Miller Wrote The Crucible

773 words - 4 pages

An Analytical Essay Explaining Why Arthur Miller Wrote The Crucible

Authors often have underlying reasons for giving their stories certain themes or settings. Arthur Miller’s masterpiece, The Crucible, is a work of art inspired by actual events as a response to political and moral issues. Set in Salem, Massachusetts in 1692, The Crucible proves to have its roots in events of the 1950’s and 1960’s, such as the activities of the House Un-American Committee and the “Red Scare.” Though the play provides an accurate account of the Salem witch trials, its real achievement lies in the many important issues of Miller’s time that it dealswith.

Throughout The Crucible, Miller is ...view middle of the document...

He intended to hunt them out, force them to confess, and make them name their associates, almost as the Salem judges had done. In fact, the character of Danforth is based on McCarthy himself. There is a great parallel between the witch trials and the “Red Scare.” Both created a frenzy among the public, involved people going against each other to prove their innocence, and sought to hunt out those who rebelled against the dominant values of the time.

Arthur Miller’s own involvement in the McCarthy “witch hunt” is very significant in the writing of The Crucible. He himself appeared before the House Committee on Un-American Activities in 1956, accused of being a Communist. He admitted to having attended a Communist meeting years earlier to learn about their views. He was asked to name the others at the meeting but refused, stating, “I am trying to and I will protect my sense of myself.” Miller’s reaction to his cross-examination is similar to that of John Proctor, who represents Miller’s belief that righteousness is maintained if one’s moral sense is kept. In Miller’s case, he was convicted of contempt, but the conviction was later appealed and reversed. It is evident that he wrote about McCarthyism indirectly to protect himself at the time.
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