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The Crucible

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The Crucible was not received well at first, but now is his most produced play. ... Like the Salem Witch Trials, the accused had few choices. – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Crucible


1
The Crucible
  • A play by Arthur Miller
  • Background Lecture Notes

2
Author Background
  • Arthur Miller (1915-2005)
  • Born in NY
  • Father was in the clothing business
  • Lost everything due to Depression
  • Family moved to Brooklyn
  • Resulted in a change in social status
  • Brooklyn became the basis for many of his works
  • Road to a writing career
  • Other past careers singer, truck driver, worked
    in automobile parts
  • Didnt show an interest in writing until after
    graduating HS
  • Studied Journalism at the University of Michigan,
    and won several awards for playwriting.
  • Wrote Death of a Salesman in 1949 established
    him as a major American playwright.
  • Was never drafted into WWII due to an injury.

3
Background for the Play
  • The Crucible was not received well at first, but
    now is his most produced play.
  • It is based on real-life situations that occurred
    in the 1600s in Salem, Massachusetts known as
    the Salem Witch Trials.
  • It is also considered an allegory where
    characters and events are a symbol for something
    else.
  • House Un-American Activities Committee of the
    1950s (looked for un-American Communism
    activity)
  • Miller looked at this committee as a witch
    hunt. Miller himself was convicted of contempt
    for refusing to name other writers who were
    suspected of Communist activities.
  • Like the Salem Witch Trials, the accused had few
    choices. They could confess to a crime they often
    didnt commit or be punished by the court for not
    confessing.

4
Overview of The Crucible
  • The story is about how a town is thrown into
    hysteria by the actions of a few young Puritan
    girls. The story details how events are fueled by
    superstition and false accusations. In this
    specific situation, the girls are accused of
    witchcraft. The idea of witchcraft was so
    frightening to people in the 17th century
    (1600s), that the only way to deal with it was
    to put those accused to death by hanging.
  • The allegory comes in due to the fact that in the
    1950s, Communism was perceived the same way by
    Americans.

5
Setting for The Crucible
  • Salem, Massachusetts
  • 1692 (late 17th century)
  • At this time, Salem is predominately Puritan
  • Areas of wilderness border Salem on the West
  • Puritans had a fear of the wilderness
  • potential Indian attacks, wild animals, and other
    unknown evils that the Puritans believed
    inhabited the forest (including Satan)
  • Grammatical differences are revealed in their
    language. For example
  • forms of be were used differently at this time
  • Goody is equal to our modern day Mrs.
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