Arthur Miller: A Life • Born on October 17, 1915 • Attended the University of Michigan from 1934-1938 • Graduated with a degree in journalism • Wrote and produced five plays during college career • Married three times • Two daughters, one son
Miller and HUAC • Investigated for possible associations with the Communist party from 1953 to 1955 • In 1956, he was called to testify before the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC). • Only attended meetings looking to advocate social justice and equality • When brought before the committee, he refused to name any other attendees.
Miller and HUAC (cont.) • Found guilty of contempt • Later released
The Red Scare • A time of paranoia and hysteria over communism • Many government officials were involved or accused. • Many writers, actors, and directors lost their jobs • Many named names to save their own careers
Connections • Miller wrote The Crucible as a metaphor for the Red Scare in the 1950’s. • He felt there was a “witch hunt” within the government and beyond • Like the witch trials, it was easier to admit guilt than maintain innocence. • The play is widely performed when social unrest is present in a culture.
20th Century Witch Hunts • The Holocaust
20th Century Witch Hunts • Japanese-American Internment Camps
20th Century Witch Hunts: Racial Profiling • African Americans • Native Americans • Arab/Middle-Eastern decent
20th Century Witch Hunts: Stereotypes • Homosexuality • AIDS
During this time, Puritans believed that any peculiar behavior or defiance towards society, religion, or God, was a direct result of being “moved” by the devil.
Possible Causes For Accusing • Hallucinations from spoiled food • Boredom • Strict society • Social cleansing? • Land dispute
If children misbehaved, defied their parents, or acted strange, it was only because the devil himself inspired them to do so.
If you were accused, sometimes the town would watch you be thrown into a lake with heavy weights.
Arthur Miller wrote The Crucible to illustrate that history repeats itself.
During the 50’s, Senator Joseph McCarthy was accusing people of being communists.
A lot of famous figures were accused. This includes: actors, television executives, producers, and other people in Hollywood.
Many people in Hollywood are very liberal. Therefore, they must also be communists.
They could apologize for their actions and confess to being a communist(even if it wasn’t true).
Just like the Salem Witch Trials, the McCarthy era was unfair. Mass hysteria spread, and individuals began to question their integrity.
Do you confess to something you didn’t do, or do you receive the punishment and maintain your respect?
Unfortunately, we didn’t learn from the McCarthy era. Mass hysteria continues and we still point our fingers.
Remember 9-11?How many innocent people were accused for being a terrorist just because the color of their skin?
Remember Columbine?How many innocent students were accused of bomb threats just because of the way they dressed?