Why i wrote the crucible essay


why i wrote the crucible essay

About a year later, a new production, one with younger, less accomplished actors, working in the Martinique Hotel ballroom, played with the fervor that the script and the times required, and The Crucible became a hit. "During the examination of Elizabeth Procter, Abigail Williams and Ann Putnam" - the two were "afflicted" teen-age accusers, and Abigail was Parris's niece - "both made offer to strike at said Procter; but when Abigail's hand came. Arthur Miller is a problem playwright in both senses of the word, wrote, walter Kerr of the, herald Tribune, who called the play a step backward into mechanical parable. Miller states, the Red hunt, led by the House Committee on Un-American Activities and McCarthy, was becoming the dominating fixation of the American psyche. I had not approached the witchcraft out of nowhere, or from purely social and political considerations. Even worse was the feeling that our sensitivity to this onslaught on our liberties was passing from us - indeed, from. The Crucible by the chance it gave me to use a new language - that of seventeenth-century New England. It was as simple as that.

Arthur Miller, Why I Wrote The Crucible (October 21, 1996)

For others, it may simply be a fascination with the outbreak of paranoia that suffuses the playthe blind panic that, in our age, often seems to sit at the dim edges of consciousness. Paranoia amongst a group of people leads to irrational thinking and leads to less than immaculate decision making skills. 06, 2011 That Was Paris Remembering my Paris years, from conversations with Hemingway to the publication of Ulysses. It was from a report written by the Reverend Samuel Parris, who was one of the chief instigators of the witch-hunt. For some, the play seems to be about the dilemma of relying on the testimony of small children accusing adults of sexual abuse, something I'd not have dreamed of forty years ago. "The Lord doth terrible things amongst us, by lengthening the chain of the roaring lion in an extraordinary manner, so that the Devil is come down in great wrath Deodat Lawson, one of the great witch-hunting preachers, said in a sermon. You were then given this, sSR final project for the semester to read over for tomorrow. Collectively, the groups had the duty to reveal to their society the fallacious convictions of the Salem Court and the House Un-American Activities Committee, who were claiming legitimacy based on unreliable ideas. Western Europe also seemed ready to become Redespecially Italy, where the Communist Party was the largest outside Russia, and was growing. In his drama, Miller states, the witch-hunt was a perverse manifestation of the panic which set in among all classes when the balance began to turn toward greater individual freedom (7). (And the irony is that klatches of Luciferians exist all over the country today, there may even be more of them now than there are Communists.).


Nobody but a fanatic, it seemed, could really say all that he believed. Therefore, the investigation itself is either mistaken or a fraud. If our losing China seemed the equivalent of a flea's losing an elephant, it was still a phrase - and a conviction - that one did not dare to question; to do so was to risk drawing suspicion on oneself. Spectral evidence, so aptly named, meant that if I swore that you had sent out your familiar spirit to choke, tickle, or poison me or my cattle, or to control my thoughts and actions, I could get you hanged. You were then to provide your analytical take on the essay using at least 1-2 embedded"s/pieces of evidence. It seems to me entirely appropriate that on the day the play opened, a newspaper headline read "ALL 13 reds guilty" - a story about American Communists who faced prison for "conspiring to teach and advocate the duty and necessity of forcible. My own marriage of twelve years was teetering and I knew more than I wished to know about where the blame lay.


In those years, our thought processes were becoming so magical, so paranoid, that to imagine writing a play about this environment was like trying to pick ones teeth with a ball of wool: I lacked the why i wrote the crucible essay tools to illuminate miasma. Jean-Paul Sartre, in his Marxist phase, wrote a French film adaptation that blamed the tragedy on the rich landowners conspiring to persecute the poor. Crucible s skeletonbut I have lost the dead weight of the fear I had then. (Nien Cheng, the author of Life and Death in Shanghai, has told me that she could hardly believe that a non-Chinesesomeone who had not experienced the Cultural Revolutionhad written the play.) But below its concerns with justice the play. McCarthys power to stir fears of creeping Communism was not entirely based on illusion, of course; the paranoid, real or pretended, always secretes its pearl around a grain of fact. At first, he was outraged at the allegation of widespread Communist infiltration of the government and called the charge of coddling Communists a red herring dragged in by the Republicans to bring down the Democrats. Senator Joseph McCarthy roused up hysteria in the American people by encouraging the belief that Communism had slipped through the cracks of the United States government, similarly to how Reverend Parris allowed the notion of witchcraft to escalate. Yet I kept being drawn back. Much of my desperation branched out, I suppose, from a typical Depression-era traumathe blow struck on the mind by the rise of European Fascism and the brutal anti-Semitism it had brought to power. Death of a Salesman touring company had played to a thin crowd in Peoria, Illinois, having been boycotted nearly to death by the American Legion and the Jaycees. The Crucible." But the play's future would turn out quite differently. I visited Salem for the first time on a dismal spring day in 1952; it was a sidetracked town then, with abandoned factories and vacant stores. Even though witches are not a reality, people of the Witch Trials thought they were.


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You would have to be a crypto-Luciferian to say thatnot a great idea if you wanted to go back to your farm. The Crucible was an act of desperation. The film, by reaching the broad American audience as no play ever can, may well unearth still other connections to those buried public terrors that Salem first announced on this continent. Not everybody was accused, after all, so there must be some reason why you were. But it was not yet my language, and among other strategies to make it mine I enlisted the help of a former University of Michigan classmate, the Greek-American scholar and poet Kimon Friar. They watched as Hitler, facing a vast stadium full of adoring people, went up on his toes in ecstasy, hands clasped under his chin, a sublimely self-gratified grin on his face, his body swivelling rather cutely, and they giggled at his overacting. In any play, however trivial, there has to be a still point of moral reference against which to gauge the action. In regard to all communities, panic excites even more paranoia; Under these conditions, people tend to assimilate under the same judgments due to lack of reason. The Hook ) about union corruption on the Brooklyn waterfront. The Red hunt, led by the House Committee on Un-American Activities and by McCarthy, was becoming the dominating fixation of the American psyche. From being our wartime ally, the Soviet Union rapidly became an expanding empire. Upham had not only written a broad and thorough investigation of what was even then an almost lost chapter of Salems past but opened up to me the details of personal relationships among many participants in the tragedy. As those powerful actors blossomed on the screen, and the children and the horses, the crowds and the wagons, I thought again about how I came to cook all this up nearly fifty years ago, in an America almost.


Buzzing his truculent sidewalk brawlers snarl through the hairs in his nose, squinting through his cats eyes and sneering like a villain, he comes across now as nearly comical, a self-aware performer keeping a straight face as he does his juicy threat-shtick. In this remarkably observed gesture of a troubled young girl, I believed, a play became possible. And always the crucial damning event was the signing of ones name in the Devils book. Harry Cohn, the head of Columbia Pictures, did something that would once have been considered unthinkable: he showed my script to the.B.I. With its five sets and a cast of twenty-one, it never occurred to me that it would take a brave man to produce it on Broadway, especially given the prevailing climate, but Kermit Bloomgarden never faltered. Moving crabwise across the profusion of evidence, I sensed that I had at last found something of myself in it, and a play began to accumulate around this man. The Lord doth terrible things amongst us, by lengthening the chain of the roaring lion in an extraordinary manner, so that the Devil is come down in great wrath, Deodat Lawson, one of the great witch-hunting preachers, said in a sermon. Reflections How a childhood pastime became a vocation. There was magic all around; the politics of alien conspiracy soon dominated political discourse and bid fair to wipe out any other issue. The Soviet plot was the hub of a great wheel of causation; the plot justified the crushing of all nuance, all the shadings that a realistic judgment of reality requires. Times was not much kinder, saying, There is too much excitement and not enough emotion in The Crucible. Proctor concealing his adulterous ways only further shows him avoiding his obligations to his family and community and prolonging the trials he knows are based on inaccurate information. Miller uses artistic freedom when he ages Abigail Williams and designates her and John Proctors sinful actions as a central part of the plot in The.


The one of summary was just about pulling out the main ideas and important points and stringing them together in 5-7 sentences using transitional phrases to connect ideas. In both cases the convicted were ostracized and executed. The thing at issue is buried intentions - the secret allegiances of the alienated hearts always the main threat to the theocratic mind, as well as its immemorial quarry. Lawson rallied his congregation for what was to be nothing less than a religious war against the Evil OneArm, arm, arm! I dont think there has been a week in the past forty-odd years when it hasnt been on a stage somewhere in the world.


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The 5-7 sentence response required you to create a claim as your first sentence as something regarding the essay to be proven. As I learned from non-Jewish refugees, however, there was often a despairing pity mixed with Well, they must have done something. The breathtaking circularity of the process had a kind of poetic tightness. (He later translated Kazantzakis.) The problem was not to imitate the archaic speech but to try to create a new echo of it which would flow freely off American actors' tongues. Spectral evidence was a damning indication of witchcraft during the Salem Witch Trials, but the pressure to save oneself from acquiring a destroyed reputation was also a motivating factor. I remember those years - why i wrote the crucible essay they formed. Naturally, the best proof of the sincerity of your confession was your naming others whom you had seen in the Devil company - an invitation to private vengeance, but made official by the seal of the theocratic state. The thing at issue is buried intentionsthe secret allegiances of the alienated heart, always the main threat to the theocratic mind, as well as its immemorial quarry. It was as though the court had grown tired of thinking and had invited in the instincts: spectral evidencethat poisoned cloud of paranoid fantasymade a kind of lunatic sense to them, as it did in plot-ridden 1952. In those years, our thought processes were becoming so magical, so paranoid, that to imagine writing a play about this environment was like trying to pick one's teeth with a ball of wool: I lacked the tools to illuminate miasma. Western Europe also seemed ready to become Red - especially Italy, where the Communist Party was the largest outside Russia, and was growing.


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Why, i Wrote ). Apparently, certain processes are universal. The Crucible took me about a year to write. Miller thus provided the audience with a strong political allegory, which enabled him reveal prominent issues of his time why i wrote the crucible essay through what was seemingly historical fiction. It reached Hollywood and unleashed a veritable holy terror among actors, directors, and others (. In a way, there is a biting irony in this film's having been made by a Hollywood studio, something unimaginable in the fifties. But there they are - Daniel Day-Lewis (John Proctor) scything his sea-bordered field, Joan Allen (Elizabeth) lying pregnant in the frigid jail, Winona Ryder (Abigail) stealing her minister-uncle's money, majestic Paul Scofield (Judge Danforth) and his righteous empathy with.


One thing more - something wonderful in the old sense of that word. This unleashed a veritable holy terror among actors, directors, and others, from Party members to those who had had the merest brush with a front organization. Inevitably, it was no sooner known that my new play was about Salem than I had to confront the charge that such an analogy was specious - that there never were any witches but there certainly are Communists. But what were these new inductees supposed to have done once theyd signed on? McCarthy's power to stir fears of creeping Communism was not entirely based on illusion, of course; the paranoid, real or pretended, always secretes its pearl around a grain of fact. I was also drawn into writing. One thing moresomething wonderful in the old sense of that word. Certainly its political implications are the central issue for many people; the Salem interrogations turn out to be eerily exact models of those yet to come in Stalins Russia, Pinochets Chile, Maos China, why i wrote the crucible essay and other regimes. We then got out our notebooks and the essay, why, i Wrote, the, crucible we were to have read and annotated for today.


McCarthy - brash and ill-mannered but to many authentic and true - boiled it all down to what anyone could understand: we had "lost China" and would soon lose Europe as well, because the State Department - staffed, of course. Well before the play opened, a strange tension had begun to build. The thought that the state has lost its mind and is punishing so many innocent people is intolerable. We began the day by submitting our authentic hard copies of our. In Timebends, my autobiography, I recalled the time Id written a screenplay (The Hook) about union corruption on the Brooklyn waterfront. The more I read into the Salem panic, the more it touched off corresponding images of common experiences in the fifties: the old friend of a blacklisted person crossing the street to avoid being seen talking to him; the overnight conversions.



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