The Crucible

Title: The Crucible

Author: Arthur Miller

Genre: Play

Publication Date: 1953

Overview

The Crucible Literature Guide

A play staged in four parts, The Crucible (1953) is one of Arthur Miller’s primary works alongside Death of a Salesman (1949) and All My Sons (1947). Unlike his other plays, The Crucible is deeply rooted in real events. The play charts the course of the Salem witch trials, which were conducted in the Massachusetts Bay Colony during 1692–93. Though it is based on true events, the play is a dramatized and partially fictional account.

The play is construed by several critics to be an allegoric comment on the Red Scare and McCarthyism, an era in American history primarily characterized by its anti-communist stance. In general, dissent was considered anti-American and classified as treason, betrayal, and subversion. Miller wrote the play to portray how baseless rumors and accusations can erode the foundations of society.

Ironically, the play’s success brought Miller himself into Senator McCarthy’s line of sight. The government assumed Miller to be a communist sympathizer. Fear of being subpoenaed by the House un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) led several critics to speak out against the play, and many of Miller’s friends and colleagues began to shun him in public, thereby turning him into a social pariah. Two years later, he was charged with contempt of Congress for refusing to divulge the names of certain people. However, this charge was consequently revoked in 1988 by the US Court of Appeals. Through all this, Miller continued to persevere and write to critical acclaim. In addition to his Pulitzer prize, he has won seven Tony awards, two Drama Critics Circle awards, and the John F. Kennedy Lifetime Achievement Award.

The Crucible Biography

The Crucible Background

The Crucible Characters

The Crucible Summary and Analysis

The Crucible Themes

The Crucible Quotes

The Crucible Discussion Questions

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