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IB Language and Literature - The Crucible: Home
Resource to further your understanding of The Crucible by Arthur Miller.
I thought of it first when I was at Michigan. I read a lot about the Salem witch trials at that time. Then when the McCarthy era came along, I remembered these stories and I used to tell them to people when it started. I had no idea that it was going to go as far as it went. I used to say, you know, McCarthy is actually saying certain lines that I recall the witch-hunters saying in Salem. So I started to go back, not with the idea of writing a play, but to refresh my own mind because it was getting eerie. For example, his holding up his hand with cards in it, saying, “I have in my hand the names of so-and-so.” Well, this was a standard tactic of seventeenth-century prosecutors … It was a way of inflicting guilt on everybody, and many people responded genuinely out of guilt; some would come and tell him some fantasy, or something that they had done or thought that was evil in their minds. Many times completely naive testimony resulted in somebody being hanged.
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The McCarthy era's anti-communist trials destroyed lives and friendships. Arthur Miller describes the paranoia that swept America - and the moment his then wife Marilyn Monroe became a bargaining chip in his own prosecution.
A brief overview from the Encyclopedia Britannica.
In the Library
Bloom's Literary Themes
Call Number: 809 CIV
Publication Date: 2010-01-01
Contains twenty-one critical essays that explore the theme of civil disobedience in various works, such as Sophocles' "Antigone," Arthur Miller's "The Crucible," and Richard Wright's "Native Son."
Daily Life During the Salem Witch Trials by K. David Goss
Call Number: 974.4 GOS
Publication Date: 2012-06-06
Discusses the everyday social and cultural lives of Puritans of the Massachusetts colony in the 1690's and the effect of the witch trials on family life and household activities, courtship and marriage, business, law, politics, education, and religious beliefs; and traces the development of the colony from 1620 to 1692.