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As The Crucible is a historical allegory, how does this make it dramatic?I was thinking...

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thegoldenbutt... | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 3, 2009 at 6:51 AM via web

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As The Crucible is a historical allegory, how does this make it dramatic?

I was thinking if Mccarthy found out, then Miller would be in serious trouble so it's dramatic in that sense.  Was the book actually published when Mccarthy was still in reign?

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lizbv | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted January 5, 2010 at 2:30 AM (Answer #1)

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Yes, the play was first performed while McCarthyism was at its height in blacklisting Hollywood directors, producers, writers, actors, etc.  In fact, Arthur Miller was brought in by the HUAC (McCarthy's group, otherwise known as the House of UnAmerican Activities Committee) and questioned, quite possibly as a direct result of having this clear allegory performed.  Miller discusses his interrogation by the Committee in an article entitled "Are you now or were you ever?".

The play is indeed a historical allegory, however it is dramatic in that much of it was fictionalized for the sake of the artistic portrayal. For example, Abigail was actually much younger in history than her dramatic counterpart who is portrayed as a 17 year old girl.  Additionally, there was no affair between Abigail and John. Also, the Putnams did not lose ALL of their babies (her reason in the play for accusing Goody Nurse, her midwife) nor did Martha, Rebecca, and John all hang on the same day. For these reasons the play is only a dramatic representation (historical fiction, if you will) of the events, but still the situation it illustrates and the themes and lessons it conveys are the true allegory for the McCarthy hearings.

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