Arthur Miller's "The Crucible" Book Review by Leenburke

Arthur Miller's "The Crucible"
This paper compares the witch hunts in Arthur Miller's "The Crucible" to the McCarthy hearings of the 1950s.
# 92894 | 2,460 words | 7 sources | MLA | 2006 | US

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This paper explains that the parallels, in the plot of Arthur Miller's "The Crucible" and the "Red Scare" of the 1950s, bring to light the unconstitutional lawlessness committed by Senator Joseph McCarthy and his House Un-American Activities Commission (HUAC), a committee designed to identify and persecute Americans who were members of the Communist party. The author points out that, from the play, John Proctor's character and principles and how he persists in carrying them out directly pertain to Arthur Miller's role in the HUAC hearings. This paper states that Arthur Miller wrote "The Crucible" to keep the detrimental effects of mass hysteria in the conscious minds of Americans and people everywhere because the moment that these mistakes are forgotten they are doomed to be repeated. This paper includes a playwright chronology.

From the Paper:

"Understanding why Miller writes about the mass hysteria and paranoia of the Salem witch-hunts can partly come from reflecting on his life during the Red Scare. Although Miller himself was not a communist when he was subpoenaed in 1956 by HUAC, he refused to name names when the HUAC asked him about people who attended the same meetings as he once did. "I declined to make any such statement, which I found demeaning; what right had any organisation [sic] to demand anyone's pledge of loyalty?" The HUAC asked Miller very specific questions about the others who participated in what McCarthy and his followers perceived as disloyal to America."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Bentley, Eric. Are You Now or Have You Ever Been; The Investigation of Show Business by the Un-American Activities Committee, 1947--1958. New York: Harper and Row, 1972.
  • Bigsby, Christopher. Introduction. The Crucible. By Arthur Miller. New York: Penguin Books USA Inc., 1995. vii-xxv.
  • Budick, E. Miller. "History and Other Spectres in The Crucible." Arthur Miller: Modern Critical Views. Ed. Harold Bloom. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1987. 127-144.
  • Martine, James J. The Crucible: Politics, Property, and Pretense. New York: Twayne Publishers, 1993.
  • Miller, Arthur. "Are You Now or Were You Ever . . . ?" Guardian Unlimited 17 June 2000. n.p. 1 November 2001. <,4273,4030326,00.html>.

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