Plot[ edit ] Early one morning in SalemMassachusetts insome young village girls meet in the woods with a Barbadian slave named Tituba. Parris questions Abigail about the events that took place in the woods; Betty will not awaken, nor will Ruth, the daughter of Thomas and Ann Putnam, who was also dancing.
Arthur Asher Miller is one of the most influential playwrights of the twentieth century, whose plays have had resonance not only in America, but all over the world.
In this essay, Miller discusses how his understanding and use of dramatic structure has been strongly influenced by his knowledge of classical Greek drama: A play to him was by definition a dramatic consideration of the way men ought to live…But for him [the ancient Greek] these means [of personal psychology and character] were means to a larger end, and the end was what we isolate today as social.
That is, the relations of man as a social animal, rather than his definition as a separated entity, were the dramatic goal.
Miller was born inin New York City, and started his playwriting career inaged 21, by writing No Villain in only six days, during the spring holidays. The coldness of the crowd was not a surprise; Broadway audiences were not famous for loving history lessons, which is what they made of the play.
Moreover, many prominent critics of the time were slow to recognise either its literary achievement, or its relevance as a comment on the contemporary climate of fear being created by Senator Joe McCarthy.
It is interesting to note that when The Crucible was performed a few years later in the early sixties, critics responded with the praise that it so justly deserved; the climate of fear had dissipated and the play could be judged without any of the complications of the political climate of the early to mid fifties.
Moreover, the only film version of the play produced in the interim did not take place on American soil, so incendiary was The Crucible considered to be at the time.
In truth, most of those who were hanged in Salem were people of substance, and two or three were very large landowners. Sartre, often known at that time to hold Marxist sympathies, rewrote the play with less emphasis on its supernatural aspect, and more on its potential as political allegory.
The Crucible clearly has manifold interpretations, shown by the fact that it now regularly plays around the globe, and has often been played in South America, especially at times of political unrest.
In which case, I shall now investigate further the political climate surrounding the performance of The Crucible. Witch-hunting How could a play set in the 17th century, in a remote part of heavily forested Massachusetts, in a village called Salem that was scarcely 40 years old overture in Miller, A.
The play is set when a feverish and hysterical fear of diabolic activity, at first set in motion by a fake charge of devilry, but soon propelled forward by its own momentum and the petty jealousies of villagers, overcomes a small village community with the suspicion that many members were consorting with the Devil.
As a result, roughly thirty nine people were tried and condemned to death on the charge of witchcraft. Miller had been interested in this historical period before he began to write The Crucible: Upham, who was then the mayor of Salem - that I knew I had to write about the period.
Miller easily connected the events of the time with those of the early years of American history, less than a century after the Puritan fathers had arrived on the eastern shores of America on the Mayflower: Few of us can easily surrender our belief that society must somehow make sense.
The thought that the state has lost its mind and is punishing so many innocent people is intolerable. And so the evidence has to be internally denied.
Miller obviously found the Salem witch-hunts an emotive chapter in American history, though for more reasons than a sense of outrage at the demonisation of innocent members of society.
He also had a personal investment in the play, made clear by his association with the main character of John Proctor, an innocent hanged on the charge of witch-craft: My own marriage of twelve years was teetering and I knew more than I wished to know about where the blame lay.
That John Proctor the sinner might overturn his paralyzing personal guilt and become the most forthright voice against the madness around him was a reassurance to me, and, I suppose, an inspiration: The Crucible is a well-plotted, linguistically-rich play, but an obvious political allegory, nonetheless.
It would be foolish to deny that Miller had an obvious political intention in writing The Crucible when he did — as we have seen, it would have been impossible for him to write a play about such a subject at any other time.
It will be helpful to examine the era in question, that of fifties America, in order to assess the impact of the play for modern audiences contemporary to the first productions of The Crucible. This movement was anti-Communist, and initially had the aim of discovering Communist sympathisers in positions of power in American society and government, in order to oust them from these roles.
InMao Zedong took power in China. Western Europe also seemed ready to become Red - especially Italy, where the Communist Party was the largest outside Russia, and was growing… McCarthy… boiled it all down to what anyone could understand: It was as simple as that.
It reached Hollywood when the studios, after first resisting, agreed to submit artists' names to the House Committee for "clearing" before employing them.
This unleashed a veritable holy terror among actors, directors, and others, from Party members to those who had had the merest brush with a front organization.
Thus, McCarthy began a grab for domestic power by attempting to oust anybody in a high-profile position whom he suspected of being at all left-leaning.
Miller would later go onto suggest that McCarthy and his friends were jealous of the power artists such as him could command: But such was the gathering power of raw belief in the great Soviet plot that Truman soon felt it necessary to institute loyalty boards of his own.
Both were fuelled by a groundless fear, and both resulted in innocent people losing their lives because of the intense suspicion and fear of others in their community. Furthermore, both McCarthy and Judge Hathorne and Deputy-Governor Danforth manage to create a situation whereby those accusing are themselves beyond accusation: The play therefore is a comment upon the society contemporary to the first productions of The Crucible, as I hope I have shown thus far.
However, as I aim now to show, The Crucible is far more complex play; we have already seen that Miller himself had a personal interesting writing about a man, who though consumed with guilt because of an earlier wrongful action, is yet able to act rightly in the midst of morally ambiguous circumstances.
In which case, the play has more layers than that of political allegory alone. These two historical circumstances are both manifestations of a more fundamental, and on-going problem: It is a paradox in whose grip we still live, and there is no prospect yet that we will discover its resolution.The Crucible is a American historical drama film written by Arthur Miller adapting his play of the same title, Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a grade of "A", calling the adaptation "joltingly powerful" and noting the "spectacularly" acted performances of Day-Lewis.
Arthur Miller wrote The Crucible as a response to the McCarthy hearings of the ’s in which he and hundreds of others were entrapped. Many professional and personal lives were ruined by the "hysteria" of fear and suspicion generated by McCarthy’s accusations based on little or no hard evidence.
You should also remind students that in The Crucible, Arthur Miller was writing a tragedy. Discuss as a class the meanings of "tragedy" and "tragic hero." Analysis of The Crucible as an American tragedy with John Proctor as an American tragic hero.
Another interesting connection would be to teach the play with a film that is very much.
Analysis Of The Crucible And A Scene by Arthur Miller American play writing. Miller born in , but where was his childhood? He grew up in New York with a Jewish family. Arthur Millers’ play went on Broadway at the Martin Beck. More about Analysis Of The Crucible And A Scene by Arthur Miller Essay.
The Crucible by Arthur Miller. Source: Miller, Arthur. Why I Wrote The Crucible. The New Yorker, October 21 and 28, , Carthyism colored its every analysis. The play s artistic cible was written on the occasion of the play s first Hollywood adaptation, a little more than forty years after The Crucible and ironically, Miller s blacklist-.
The New Yorker, October 21, P. LIFE AND LETTERS about the inspiration for and influence of Miller's play, "The Crucible," a reflection of the Communist witchhunts of its time.