Some notes on the "Crucible"

Essay by chrissaHigh School, 11th grade April 2004

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Crucible: a severe test or trial

What is a witchhunt?

A person or people who are accused or assumed to be guilty of something based upon rumors, lies, non-factual information or their association with particular groups or people.

Arthur Miller

-author of "The Crucible" and several other famous plays

-was married to sex symbol Marilyn Monroe

- investigated by the Congressional Un-America Activities Commitee for suspicion of communist activity

- Miller denied being under communist influence, but refused to give the commitee names of other writers who had attended communist-inspired meetings, so he was convicted of contempt of Congress in 1957

Mc Carthyism, Red Hunt, "Witch Hunt", Red Scare

- Senator Joseph McCarthy

- Feb. 1950 McCarthy became convinced that communists had infiltrated the US Department of State. For the next 3 years McCarthy accused and investigated many government officials, members of the media and after prominent figures. The "Witch Hunt" climaxed in 1954 when McCarthy accused the Secretar of Navy with sheltering communist spies.

Salem, Massachusetts

- setting of the play and place where the real witchhunts took place in 1692, short for Jerusalem(thought they were God's chosen sent to establish New Jerusalem)

Salem Witch Trials

- Jan. 20, 1692 Elizabeth Parris and Abigail Williams start acting strangely (shaking, screaming, making strange sounds)

- Drs. can't find a medical problem, so they declare girls are bewitched

- Soon other young girls begin exhibiting same behaviors

- girls call out the names: Tituba, Sarah Good and Sarah Osborn

- over the next 8 months 150 people were put in prison for witchcraft, 27 people were convicted, 19 were executed by hanging, one was pressed to death, 50 had confessed


- a government ruled by or subject to religion authority

- ruled by the church