The Crucible is an interesting case because in addition to it being a often-banned work, its author, Arthur Miller, was persecuted by the US government and eventually "blacklisted."The Crucible opened in 1953, a time in which the American government, spurred on by the lies of Senator Joseph McCarthy,...
The Crucible is an interesting case because in addition to it being a often-banned work, its author, Arthur Miller, was persecuted by the US government and eventually "blacklisted."
The Crucible opened in 1953, a time in which the American government, spurred on by the lies of Senator Joseph McCarthy, was cracking down on suspected communists. This period, called "McCarthyism" or the Second Red Scare is widely considered to be an example of a modern-day witch hunt; most of the individuals accused of being communist were innocent but lost their reputations or careers anyway. In their search for communists, the government particularly targeted artistic industries, including Hollywood and the theater community. Individuals in these industries who were accused of communist activity or refused to cooperate with investigators were often put on a “blacklist,” which signaled to others in their industry that this person should not be hired.
Angered by what he saw happening, Arthur Miller wrote The Crucible as a bold critique of this mass paranoia, intending the corrupt witch hunts in Salem to serve as an allegory for the hysteria about communism that was gripping America. After The Crucible premiered, Miller was asked to appear before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC)—likely in part because of the critical nature of his play. Miller was charged with contempt of Congress and ended up blacklisted himself after he refused to provide HUAC with the names of other individuals present at the meetings he'd attended.
Miller's blacklisting and refusal to cooperate with HUAC impacted public attitudes toward the The Crucible, which was banned in some schools because parents felt its content was anti-American and pro-communist. Even after the Red Scare ended, the play continues to be regularly challenged and banned due to its controversial subject matter, including adultery, violence, and witchcraft and the occult. Some parents have also challenged The Crucible for being overly critical of Christianity and religion in general. Despite attempts to ban it, The Crucible remains one of the most famous works in American drama and is frequently included in high school literary curriculums.