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A Study Packet. The Crucible . Miller’s Biography. Biography Cont. Biography cont. Miller has been married three times: to Mary Grace Slattery in 1940, Marilyn Monroe in 1956, and photographer Inge Morath in 1962, with whom he lived in Connecticut. He and Inge had a daughter, Rebecca. .

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biography cont1
Biography cont.
  • Miller has been married three times: to Mary Grace Slattery in 1940, Marilyn Monroe in 1956, and photographer IngeMorath in 1962, with whom he lived in Connecticut. He and Ingehad a daughter, Rebecca.



miller s works
Miller’s Works
  • Among his works are A View from the Bridge, The Misfits, After the Fall, Incident at Vichy, The Price, The American Clock, Broken Glass, Mr. Peters' Connections, and Timebends, his autobiography.
  • Miller died in Roxbury,

Conneticut on

February 10, 2005




Sen. Joseph McCarthy

  • Throughout the 1940s and 1950s America was overwhelmed with concerns about the threat of communism growing in Eastern Europe and China. Capitalizing on those concerns, a young Senator named Joseph McCarthy made a public accusation that more than two hundred “card-carrying” communists had infiltrated the United States government. Though eventually his accusations were proven to be untrue, and he was censured by the Senate for unbecoming conduct, his zealous campaigning ushered in one of the most repressive times in 20th-century American politics.


mccarthyism cont
McCarthyism, Cont.
  • While the House Un-American Activities Committee had been formed in 1938 as an anti-Communist organ, McCarthy’s accusations heightened the political tensions of the times.
  • Known as McCarthyism, the paranoid hunt for infiltrators was notoriously difficult on writers and entertainers, many of whom were labeled communist sympathizers and were unable to continue working. Some had their passports taken away, while others were jailed for refusing to give the names of other communists.
mccarthyism cont1
McCarthyism, Cont.
  • During this time there were few in the press willing to stand up against McCarthy and the anti-Communist machine. Among those few were comedian Mort Sahl, and journalist Edward R. Murrow, whose strong criticisms of McCarthy are often cited as playing an important role in his eventual removal from power. By 1954, the fervor had died down and many actors and writers were able to return to work. Though relatively short, these proceedings remain one of the most shameful moments in modern U.S. history.
mccarythism cont
McCarythism, Cont.
  • The trials, which were well publicized, could often destroy a career with a single unsubstantiated accusation. Among those well-known artists accused of communist sympathies or called before the committee were Dashiell Hammett, Waldo Salt, Lillian Hellman, Lena Horne, Paul Robeson, Elia Kazan, Arthur Miller, Aaron Copland, Leonard Bernstein, Charlie Chaplin and Group Theatre members Clifford Odets, Elia Kazan, and Stella Adler.
  • In all, three hundred and twenty artists were blacklisted, and for many of them this meant the end of exceptional and promising careers.
fast fact sheet
Fast Fact Sheet
  • Author-Arthur Miller
  • Type of work –Play
  • Genre -Tragedy, allegory
  • Language -English
  • Time and place written -America, early 1950s
  • Date of first publication -1953
  • Publisher -Viking Press
  • Narrator -The play is occasionally interrupted by an omniscient, third-person narrator who fills in the background for the characters.
  • Climax -John Proctor tells the Salem court that he committed adultery with Abigail Williams.
  • Protagonist -John Proctor
  • Antagonist -Abigail Williams
fast fact sheet1
Fast Fact Sheet
  • Setting (time) -1692
  • Setting (place) -Salem, a small town in colonial Massachusetts
  • Point of view -The Crucible is a play, so the audience and reader are entirely outside the action.
  • Falling action -The events from John Proctor’s attempt to expose Abigail in Act IV to his decision to die rather than confess at the end of Act IV.
  • Tense -Present
  • Foreshadowing -The time frame of the play is extremely compressed, and the action proceeds so quickly that there is little time for foreshadowing.
  • Tone -Serious and tragic—the language is almost Biblical
major themes
Major Themes

Intolerance-prejudiced against those who are not religious

Hysteria- mass chaos

The Breaking of Charity- people started turning against friends, neighbors, and relatives

Power- (major theme) those who did not have power at the time saw the events as away to gain power

the salem witch trials
The Salem Witch Trials


  • It was a tough, cold winter in Salem, Massachusetts and sometime during February 1692, a small girl became strangely ill. She complained of pain and fever, burst out in incomprehensible gibberish, experienced convulsions and contortions; her symptoms baffled everyone.
  • Cotton Mather had just written a popular book describing suspected witchcraft in nearby Boston. Then three other girls, playmates of the afflicted Betty Parris, began to exhibit similar unusual behaviors.
  • Doctor Griggs examined the girls and after his first administrations failed, he declared that the girls' afflictions might be the result of witchcraft.
the salem witch trials cont
The Salem Witch Trials (cont.)
  • Eventually, 150 "witches" were taken into custody.
  • By late September, 19 men and women had been hanged on Gallows Hill, an eighty year old man pressed to death under stones for refusing a trial, five more accused had died in jail, but none of the executed had confessed to witchcraft.
  • Then almost as fast as it had started, the witch hunt ended.
the salem witch trials cont1
The Salem Witch Trials (cont.)
  • That grim diagnosis triggered a Puritan inquisition throughout the community. Finger pointing began.
  • The first to be arrested were a Caribbean-born slave along with Sarah Good and Sarah Osburn, two elderly women of poor reputation.
  • The hysteria raged into the summer months and filled the prisons with innocent people.



causes for the outbreak of witchcraft hysteria in salem
Causes for the Outbreak of Witchcraft Hysteria in Salem
  • 1. Strong belief that Satan is acting in the world. ---------"The invisible world": disease, natural catastophes, and bad fortune attributed to work of the devil
  • 2.  A belief that Satan recruits witches and wizards to work for him. ---------Prior witchcraft cases in New England (and Europe before)
  • 3.  A belief that a person afflicted by witchcraft exhibits certain symptoms. ---------Cotton Mather's Memorable Providences---------Most symptoms can be feigned
  • 4.  A time of troubles, making it seem likely that Satan was active. ---------Smallpox ---------Congregational strife in Salem Village ---------Frontier wars with Indians
  • 5.  Stimulation of imaginations by Tituba.
  • 6.   Convulsive ergotism, a disease caused by eating infecting rye that can produce hallucinations, causing strange behavior?  (Interesting theory, but unlikely.)
  • 7.  Teenage boredom. ---------No television, no CDs, and lots of Bible reading ---------Strict and humorless Parris household
  • 8.  Magistrates and judges receptive to accusations of witchcraft. ---------See as way to shift blame for their own wartime failures ---------Admission of spectral evidence
  • 9.  Confessing "witches" adding credibility to earlier charges.
  • 10.  Old feuds (disputes within congregation, property disputes) between the accusers and the accused spurring charges of witchcraft.
have we learned the lessons of salem
Have We Learned the Lessons of Salem?
  • 1.  What are the lessons? --------Hysteria happens. --------Children (especially) can be influenced by suggestion and peer pressure to say things that are not true. --------We should be skeptical of confessions when the confessions are the result of torture or when the person has a self-interest in confessing. --------A "cooling off period" can sometimes prevent injustices. --------Trials should be fair: evidence introduced should be reliable, witnesses should be subject to cross-examination, defendants should have legal assistance and be allowed to testify on their own behalf, and judges should be unbiased.
  • 2.  Have we had "modern-day witch hunts"? --------HUAC/McCarthy "Communist hunts" of early 1950s (events that inspired The Crucible) --------Day care abuse trials of 1980s (child witnesses, accusations multipy, people afraid to support accused, unbelievable charges, hysteria). --------To read about a modern-day trial with many parallels to the Salem Trials, see The McMartin Preschool Abuse Trial (the longest and most expensive criminal trial in American history).
  • AIDS in the 1990’s
  • What happened after Sept. 11, 2001?


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