Witches, McCarthy and Trials, Oh My!Jared Wilson15SP-ENC-1102-64147 .
Arthur Miller was born in the town of New York at Harlem to Isodore Miller along with Augusta Barnett. His family moved to a six-story residence shortly after he was born. His father; a Jewish illiterate immigrant had invested in lady wear manufacturing firms as well as shops.
Isidore miller’s businesses were destabilized during the depression period, and the unfolding events affected Miller’s family. They moved to a smaller house in Brooklyn which is said to be the model for Brooklyn house in his play, “Death of a Salesman.”His childhood was spent playing soccer as well as baseball and reading adventure novels. After starting college, he began working in an automobile warehouse to raise money for his college fees. His strong desire to become a writer led him to study journalism at the University of Michigan in 1934. After graduating in 1938 and returning to New York, he joined the Federal Theatre Project.
There he indulged his passion for wiring by authoring plays for radio programs that would be broadcast on the Columbia workshop (CBS) as well as the Cavalcade of America (NBC).He wedded his school darling; Mary Slattery. They had two children. In the year 1944, his work “The Man Had All the Luck” appeared on Broadway. This play survived until its fourth performance.
He later released the play “All my Sons”. This play centralized on a factory entrepreneur who sold faulty aircraft parts at the time of World War II. These plays received the York Drama Critic Circle Award as well as the Tony Awards. He wrote his first novel Focus in 1945. The acts were centralized on anti-Semitism. Eventually Miller would come to write what is arguably his most famous work, “The Crucible”.“The Crucible”, written by Arthur Miller was released in 1952.
Released around the same time as the end of World War II (In 1945), as well as the Soviet Union rise to power; which was an increasing threat to the American nation. This threat came in the form of what was called the ‘red threat’ because the Americans feared that the Soviet Union’s communist’s ideologies would find their way to America. The paranoiac atmosphere led to the formation of investigative committees whose main duty was to come up with the names of the communists and soviet spies who operated within the American government and other social circles. After considering the course of events of his time, it was unavoidable for Miller to perceive the coincidental comparison of current events in relation to the Salem witch trials which had occurred two and half centuries earlier. This comparison was not lost on some and led to Miller becoming subject to communist investigation four years after “The Crucible” was released.
While many anti-communists worked tirelessly at eliminating communists and communist sympathizers, The Crucible were out to eliminate witchcraft. Some characters in the play would accuse others of witchcraft just as people would accuse others of communist activities. The play received a lot of vilification upon its release.
In the play, any indulgence in witchcraft would be met by death..The play was strongly based on courtroom records as well as accounts of historical personages of the Salem witch trials. The setting in which the play is based, one could be executed owing to self-gratified human imaginations. Rumors on witchcraft spread in the entire Salem regions and innocent people are the victims.
The guilty are set free after they conspire to accuse the innocent to save their own lives. When Abigail is accused of misconduct by the minister, she turns the indictment into a plea for seeking assistance. She says that her soul has been bewitched. She leads young girls to accuse the city people of witchcraft. The accusations only target the persons Abigail and her girls do not like.
For example, when she accuses Elizabeth Proctor who unknowingly fails to confirm her husband’s testimony. Abigail did this because she once seduced Elizabeth’s husband..The atmosphere at the time “The Crucible” was written, was favorable for disregarding conscience.
Human ethics and decorum was no longer private. The state seemed to dictate and control conscience by indulging and investigating into the citizens who were alleged communists. “The Crucible” shows an individual’s ability to defy any conformist’s pressures.
Miller received an honorary degree from the University of Michigan in 1956. In the same year, he was summoned to and investigated for Un-American activities (Hammer, 2011). He acknowledged attending these meetings and denied being a communist. Although, he had sponsored communists’ parties, attended peace conferences as well as signed for demonstrations and appeals. The congress ruled in contempt, a ruling that was later reversed by the court.