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The Crucible by Arthur Miller

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The Crucible by Arthur Miller Background & Pre-Reading Information Arthur Miller Arthur Asher Miller: 1915-2005 Raised in Harlem & Brooklyn New York Child of Polish ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Crucible by Arthur Miller


1
The Crucibleby Arthur Miller
  • Background Pre-Reading Information

2
Arthur Miller
  • Arthur Asher Miller 1915-2005
  • Raised in Harlem Brooklyn New York
  • Child of Polish-Jewish immigrants
  • Loss of wealth thru Stock Market Crash
  • Activist playwright
  • Transformed American theater

3
Arthur Miller cont.
  • Struggled financially faced anti-semitism
    (hatred of Jews)
  • B.A. English Literature, University of Michigan
  • Worked odd jobs/suffered through the Great
    Depression
  • Decay of the American Dream
  • Death of a Salesman
  • Plays dealt with reality of America instead of
    its idealization, particularly working class
    America

4
Miller McCarthyism
  • Senator Joseph McCarthy
  • Communist Paranoia 1940s-1950s McCarthyism
  • Red Scare
  • HUAC House Un-American Activities Committee
  • Miller convicted of Contempt of Congress
  • Hollywood Blacklist

5
The Crucible the Salem Witch Trials
  • The Crucible metaphor
  • Salem Town Mass, 1692
  • Cautionary tale
  • Religious extremism - lack of due process
  • False accusations - individual liberties
  • All Salems tried convicted
  • Capital punishment
  • Accusation was enough

6
Social Religious Context
  • Puritanism
  • Theocracy
  • Church ruled all, even capital punishment for
    spiritual misdeeds
  • Ironically came to America for religious freedom,
    but because they believed England was not strict
    enough
  • Believed heavily in the presence of both god
    the devil in an invisible world
  • Moral purity to the smallest detail
  • Emphasis on obedience versus fondness
  • No physical affection for children before two, to
    break their will
  • Obedience is godliness
  • No toys/games because they created idleness

7
Puritanism Patriarchy
  • Extreme biblical patriarchal beliefs fueled witch
    hunts
  • Women totally subservient to men
  • By their nature (Eve), more likely to do the
    devils work
  • Lustful
  • All land, property, or wealth of any kind to man
    upon marriage
  • Most witches were widows or unmarried
    landowning women accusation good way to get
    arable land
  • The Crucible very historically accurate, save
    some ages

8
Overview
  • The Crucible is both a Puritan Post-Modern text
  • Reveals Colonial/Puritan values, but also
    challenges a 1950s American society plagued by
    Cold-War fears
  • The Crucible as act of protest
  • FACT Miller could not attend the opening of his
    play in London because the US would not allow him
    a passport.
  • Miller wrote article entitled, Why I Wrote The
    Crucible after he was convicted of contempt of
    Congress
  • A thoughtful, educated, scholarly response to
    the loss of individual liberties.
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