Arthur Miller, the author of The Crucible, was born on October 17, 1915 in New York City. His career as an author began while he was a student at the University of Michigan. He wrote many books during his time, some winning world recognition and prizes. Some were All My Sons, released in 1947, and the prize winning classic, Death of a Salesman, in 1949. By this time, he was already a national sensation.
The Crucible is one of Miller's many books. The Crucible takes place during 1692 in a small town of Salem, Massachusetts. A group of girls are discovered, dancing in the forest. Being accused of witches, the group tries to take the attention off of them. They achieve this by accusing Salem residents of forcing them to sign the "black book" and to dance with the Devil. Most of the accused are innocent Puritans. Even so, they were tried and some hanged.
Jealousies, suspicions and old grudges are spilled out into the open during this time of hysteria. The plot leads to a tragic end where the protagonists are either killed or excommunicated and the antagonists flee Salem alive.
The Crucible was written during the early 1950s during a time of fear and paranoia. This time, known as the McCarthy era, grew out of the fear of Communism. It was named after Joseph McCarthy, a Republican senator from Wisconsin. It all began when he accused the State Department of being infiltrated by more than two hundred Communists. He had no evidence but continued to accuse other government officials of being Communists. Soon the whole nation began to suspect others of being Communist and a fear of Communism spread across the nation. The only way to escape punishment was to confess or accuse others of Communist.