Arthur Miller, Mccarthism, And The Crucible

982 words - 4 pages

“McCarthy was an essentially destructive force, a revolutionist without any revolutionary vision, a rebel without a cause” (Broudin). In the 1950’s, Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy sparked the fire known as “the Red Scare” interrogating those suspected of communist actions. Likewise, in 1692, Reverend Samuel Parris of Salem began the terror of accusations that resulted in the famous Witchcraft Trials. The playwright Arthur Miller, some of whose colleagues were victims of McCarthy, noticed uncanny similarities in these two events and wrote his play The Crucible as a social mouthpiece to speak out against McCarthyism. The story of the witchcraft trials is an allegory to the Red Scare in the ...view middle of the document...

In addition, the HUAC conducted investigations to prove that government had tolerated communist subversion. Accordingly, the Hollywood Ten were famous screenwriters and directors accused of “suspicious loyalty” by the HUAC. The HUAC believed that the screenwriters were able to submit Communist propaganda into films (Broudin). As a result, they were all found guilty of contempt of Congress and each was sentenced six to twelve months in jail. Most of the Hollywood Ten were personal friends of Arthur Miller.
Arthur Miller was a prominent playwright at the time. He was born in New York City on October 17, 1915 (“Crucible”). After attending the University of Michigan and writing a few unsuccessful plays, Miller wrote The Death of a Salesman and won a Tony Award for its stage production. “Miller gained an associated eminence as a man who understood the deep essence of the U.S.” (“Crucible”). When the Hollywood Ten were accused of believing in Communist ideology, Miller was influenced to write his next social awareness play, The Crucible. This work was a direct attack on McCarthyism, comparing the Salem Witchcraft Trials to the hearings occurring with the Red Scare (“Crucible”). Soon afterward, in 1955, Miller was denied a passport to Brussels because it was “not in the best interest of the country,” (Broudin). Then, in 1956, he was called before the HUAC for suspicious actions. At first he was asked to provide names of people who attended Communist events with him, but he refused to collapse under pressure, and he did not “name names.” At first, he was convicted of contempt of Congress, but the conviction was reversed in 1958 after he was fined for being guilty. Miller had never been a member of the Communist Party, and his political views had been more moderate, but The Crucible caught the attention of the HUAC and Senator McCarthy because it was a protest against the Red Scare (Broudin).
The Crucible takes place in 1692 during the Salem Witchcraft Trials, nearly 400 years before McCarthyism....

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