Arthur Miller,the Crucible and McCarthyism
Arthur Miller's response to theMcCarthy anti-Communist hysteria: a period of conflict in the USA in the 1950s,was to write the Crucible. He created an allegory to present the conflict, inwhich he was personally involved, to his contemporaries. In his play, heexamined the witchcraft trials in Salem. In 1692, which he saw as having manyparallels to his own experience. In creating a comparison between both the events which occurred and the dilemmas faced by those directly involved, he was able to thinly disguise the identities of acquaintances, while simultaneously presenting his views about the injustice which he believed had occurred. Hisplay is still very relevant as an examination of the way in which ordinary people can courageously confront unjust authority and the importance of protecting personal integrity.

  1. What was the crime of Elia Kazan?Elia Karzan was a member of the American communist party. He was instructed if he did not name any other members who were involved then he would never be able to direct another picture to the court. This ended his career.
  2. Why did Arthur Miller and Elia Kazan come into conflict?Arthur Miler came into the conflict when Elia Kazan named him as a communist in order to save himself.
  3. What was the relationship between Miller and Kazan prior to the McCarthy period?The relationship between Miller and Kazan prior to the McCarthy period was through directing several of Millers plays.
  4. What was the response of the former friends to the conflict?A response of the former friends to conflict was when Kazan indicated that he didn’t feel guilty because he would rather hurt others then hurt himself.
  5. How did the social values of America in the 50s contribute to the conflict? How did the depression contribute to the values of Miller and Kazan? In the play,society's values also play a role. What are these values and their effects?The conflict was shaped by socialism because in the 50’s a individuals reputation meant a lot. When Miler was accused his reputation became ruined. The society values are very religious. Going to church, learning the 10 commandments are a big party of the expectations that the society itself holds.
  6. What was the role of bureaucracy / authority in the conflict? What is the parallel with this play?How could the discrediting of HUAC, Hollywood 10, blacklisting, be seen to be paralleled in the play?The role of bureaucracy is the main reason for the conflict and it was the reason for the conflict starting. This is parallel to the idea of witch craft or dealing with the devil
  7. How was the loyalty of ordinary people tested in both situations?The would be seen parallel to both Judge Danforth and Judge Horthorne
  8. What dilemma did Kazan faced with regard to the house un-American activities committee? What was his stance in his first appearance? How did this affect him? What extra pressure was placed on him?The loyalty was tested in both situations. The ordinary people may have been un-loyal in a way of saving their own reputation.
  9. What were the ensuring events at the subsequent Oscars?“Entreated me to write less tragically about our country. This lecture cost me $40,000 in lawyer's fees, a year's suspended sentence for contempt of Congress, and a $500 fine. Not to mention about a year of inanition in my creative life.”
  10. How did Kazan perceive a silent position on communism? Kazan won orca for life achievement, and uproar occurred because not one member of the HUAC was mentioned. Kazan and Milner discuss the upcoming trial, but years later saw the event very differently.
  11. Kazan and Miller discuss the upcoming trial, but years later saw the event verydifferently. How? Kazan still had no regrets about naming others as communisits but Milner had great regret, and wishes he was able to correct the choice he made.
  12. How was Kazan's next appearance before HUAC differ from the first? How did he justify what he did? What parallel could be drawn between the significance of the naming of names by Kazan and John Proctor? What were the differences? How did others respond?
  13. What was the response of Arthur Miller? How did it contribute to his writing of theCrucible? They both had a change, admiting they were wrong.
  14. What role does hysteria play in both events? It played the role of continuing the conflict, allowing it to flow and further grow.
  15. Explain the metaphor connecting Salem and the McCarthy witch hunts. How does theCrucible also reflect Miller's own personal moral conflict?
  16. How was the Crucible received by the audience?
  17. How was guilt by association seen in the McCarthy era and the play? it was seen as many people who had commited a crime (Kazan and John Proctor) in the end felt they had done the wrong thing and dmit to their wrong doings
  18. How does John Proctor's private and public betrayal reflect both Kazan's and Miller's conflicts?
  19. How did the critical response to the Crucible reflect the dangerous times it wasproduced in?As the people walked out they didn't want to know the truth of what had happened, which meant the play was produced at the wrong time as people where still in fear and shock.
  20. What was the personal and professional cost of Kazan's testimony to him? What does this show us about involvement in conflict for its participants? Kazan's testimony created a far greater shock than anyone else's. Lee J Cobb's similar testimony are Jerome Robbinson's cooperation seemed hardly to matter. It may be that Kazan had bee loved more than any other, that he had attracted for greater affection from writters and acctors with whom he had worked, and so what was overly a plitical act was sensed as betrayal of love.
  21. What was Kazan's final revenge?
  22. How ultimately has history judged Miller and Kazan?

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