Why did Arthur Miller write The Crucible?

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Lori Steinbach eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The most obvious reason Arthur Miller wrote The Crucible (or anything else, really) is because he had a story to tell. Without that, he would not have been inspired to write. It is true, however, that what inspired him to write this particular story is quite personal.

As a Jewish man, Miller was a political advocate against the inequalities of race in America, and he was vocal in his support of labor and the unions. Because he was such an outspoken critic in these two areas, he was a prime target for Senator Joseph McCarthy and others who were on a mission to rid the country of Communism.

Miller was...

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aliwriter | Student

In the 1940s and 1950s, the government of the United States was extremely alarmed by the spread of Soviet communism in the world. Communism posed a threat to democracy and free-market economies. The government was determined to suppress communism in all its forms. A Republican senator, Joseph McCarthy unleashed a reign of terror with his House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAAC), that interrogated and punished people with links to the communist cause often without evidence. Many of these victims were from the literary arts and were former colleagues of Arthur Miller.

When Elia Kazan, producer of Miller's former play was interrogated, he was forced to name his communist colleagues with threats. The 'red scare' as it was called implicated many innocent people along with real communists. Arthur Miller saw many parallels between the activities of the HUAAC with the infamous Salem Witch Hunt of 1692, in which many women were burnt on suspicions of practicing witchcraft.

Stirred by the plight of his fellow-dramatists and colleagues, Arthur Miller decided to write a play on the Salem Witch Trials while drawing significant comparisons with the 'red scare' and the witch hunt perpetrated by HUAAC. Ironically, the The Crucible brought Miller's own communist sympathies to the attention of McCarthy, and he was subsequently charged with 'Contempt of Congress'.

crystaltu001 | Student

The crucible told real events from what happened during the Salem witch trials In Massachusetts. The book was to tell how many people and children were accused during that time. The characters in the story go through the same tragedies and sentences as the people during that time. 

zumba96 | Student

I think his main purpose was to portray what was happening at this time with the Red Scare. The US was paranoid about communism and its growing threat and others randomly accusing others of being communist. 

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derekchao1 | Student

because he wanted to portray the salem witchcraft trials as nonsense and it is a caution to us

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xenastor | Student

The Crucible is based on the Salem Witch Trials which is a direct parrallel to what was going on during the time of which he wrote the book (The McCarthy Trials). Also, the love affair between John Procotor and Abigail Williams represent the love affair that Arthur Miller had with Marilyn Monroe.

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daisyhillsfinest | Student

Arthur Miller wrote the Crucible to highlight what was going on in many parts of the world in 1962, how the people felt and what was happening to those who were convicted. this links into the Mcarth trials.

how do you decide whos guilty in the court, the book was a debate on the ruling of the court in a time were many people were being accused, by children, and as in that time, children were beleived more than adults, as they were seen as gods holy children.

Salem was a Protestant place with lots of armish residents.

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ejs4281 | Student

he wrote the book after he was convoked to a meeting of the HUAC house un-american activities committee were he was asked to tell the committee who was involved in communism or nazi. as he was a director and also a writer he knew lots of actors( people in the film industry) and then surged the hollywood black list. he refused and then he thought that history was just repeating itself. he thought of the witch hunt in about 1930 were they used to hang and burn woman for witchcraft. so then he decided to write the crucible. crucible meaning cross for as the christian religion. people blaming themselves, convocations and death just reminded him of the witch hunt back in the US in about 1930's

if u search the HUAC you'll see they were similar to the judges in the crucible

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dtarver1003 | Student

As an off spring of immigrants who were not only of Jewish ancestry but also of Polish descent, Arthur Miller started to feel the heat of the moment when the United States administration started a nationwide crackdown on individuals & covens that supported Communism under the direction of Sen. Joseph McCarthy. This particular phase in the history of the United States is referred to as either ‘The Red Scare’ or ‘McCarthyism’; a time when government initiated propaganda against Communism was at its zenith. The United States administration would blacklist and accuse anyone for the crime of supporting communism; with or without evidence.

The same fate befell the then thirty seven years old Arthur Miller who was condemned for disrespect & disapproval of the United States Congress for being unsuccessful in naming numerous individuals who had attended meetings with him. In a bid to not only secure his career as a journalist & play writer and also to alert the American people against the government misinformation & propaganda that were headed their way, Miller started to ink The Crucible. Using the ‘Salem Witch Trials’ of the early 1690s as a precinct, Arthur Miller wrote The Crucible. The characters in the play are faced with the same tragedies & sentences that befell people during the McCarthyism trials; he uses the ‘Salem Witch Trials’ as a metaphor to draw national attention towards the doings and executioners of the McCarthyism propaganda.

Miller's Essay on this Topic:

http://www.dlackey.org/weblog/docs/Why%20I%20Wrote%20the%20Crucible.pdf

 

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dbeauty | Student

The crucible as you know is based on the events that took place in Salem, Massachusetts in 1692. this story is an allegory therefore events in the play are fictionalized and turned into an extended metaphor.

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