Arthur Miller and The Crucible
When Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible” was written, there was a great deal of similarities between the witch trials in Salem and what was going on at that time– the 1950’s communist increase in America. “The Crucible” might have been composed to show America that the trials and ‘hunts’ that were occurring to find communists were mirrored by the witch trials in Salem 1692. Arthur checked out a book called ‘The devil in Massachusetts’ which led his interest to find out more about the trials in Salem. When Miller investigated the trials, he drew accurate information about the characters that originally participated in them, making the story line credible as he kept names of the characters and the design of language that they would have utilized in Salem, 1692.
In 1950’s America, a senator called Joseph McCarthy was leading an anti-communist committee all over America to ‘hunt’ for communists and put them on trial for being ‘un-American’. As America was going through a period of extreme fear and fear of the spread of the anti-capitalist economic system called communism, this is because of the alliance in between the Soviet Union and America unravelling once they had actually beat their common enemy. The only method for an accused person to conserve themselves from being put on trial is to implicate another person. This caused a frenzy of allegations. Led by McCarthy special congressional committees carried out extremely questionable investigations meant to root out Communist sympathizers in the United States. Comparable to the witch trials in Salem, the accused were encouraged to confess even if they were innocent to leave punishment. Individuals then understood that to save their professions and possible tasks they needed to cooperate with the HUAC (your home of Un-American Activities Committee).
When the play was very first performed numerous saw it as an attack on McCarthyism. A few of Miller’s pals that were authors and worked in theatre were given the attention of the HUAC due to the huge influence that they offered to the public. some of the punishments included execution the tension of Miller’s play, The crucible, caused the state to be concerned and so Miller was then taken in for a trial in 1956 and would not confess anything or implicate anyone of being a communist to save himself, this mirrors with Giles Corey who was pushed when he didn’t accuse anyone of being with the devil or confess that he had offered himself to the devil.
Although among the only distinctions between Salem 1692 and 1950’s America is that communists actually did exist whereas witches in Salem did not exist although the people at that time would have strong beliefs that they did. Miller says ‘this play is not history’, although he participated of the trials he desires people to recognise that this is not exactly what happened in the trials. I think that the message that Miller was trying to depict was that the hysteria that builds up in a community can tear it apart and create a mistrusting and jealous community, which is seen in both 1950’s America and in Salem 1692.