The Crucible By: Arthur Miller
The Crucible was written by Arthur Miller in 1953 to serve as a metaphor. The play’s atmosphere and tone were appropriately dark, accusatory, and violent since the play was exactly that. Its obvious tale of the Salem witch trials of 1692 also refers “to the panic caused by irrational fear of Communism during the Cold War” (Burns) in the United States. The latter is also known as McCarthyism. Miller basically pointed out the obvious similarities between the two events. Some of which are the ridiculous accusations uttered during these circumstances, and that these accusations were used to gain or protect power. This play serves as a warning and reminder to Americans not to let their fears blind them again.
While writing this play, Miller was influenced by two vastly parallel events: the Salem witch trials of 1692, and McCarthyism of the 1940-1950’s. The cost of the former event, which Miller portrayed in The Crucible, were the lives of “nineteen men and women and two dogs”, who “were convicted and hanged for witchcraft” (Bigsby). In the play, Miller painted the circumstances that prompted the witch trials as nothing but a means for a couple of resentful young girls to get back at those that they felt had caused
them wrong. (It is notable that many of the accused held prominent positions in the community.) Later, the girls were not able to take back what they had said, because of the
serious consequences in store for them and the Judge, who ordered executions, if it were known that they had been lying. Still, “in the aftermath of the events in Salem, it was generally agreed that none of them [the people who were hanged] had actually been witches at all” (Burns). However, the key word there is aftermath. Nothing could be done about the fact that nineteen men and women and two dogs were hanged for something they did not commit. To make matters worse, “it had taken exactly three hundred years for the state to...