[Home]

McCarthyism

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 theevents which occurred and the dilemmas faced by those directly involved, he wasable to thinly disguise the identities of acquaintances, while simultaneouslypresenting his views about the injustice which he believed had occurred. Hisplay is still very relevant as an examination of the way in which ordinarypeople can courageously confront unjust authority and the importance ofprotecting personal integrity.

  1. What was the crime of Elia Kazan?

When HUAC brought Kazan to testify in 1952 about his knowledge of Communist agents in the industry, it was pure stagecraft. By then, Kazan was a committed anti-Communist and he submitted a script which had been condemned as untrue communist propaganda.

  1. Why did Arthur Miller and Elia Kazan come into conflict?

They came into conflcit because Kazans admittedly denied clamins that he was an anti-communist to save his career and named close friends instead of himself which ultimatley destroyed his friendship with Arthur Miller who at the time was like a brother to him. This caused them not to speak for a decade.

  1. What was the relationship between Miller and Kazan prior to the McCarthy period?


Miller and Kazan had a brotherly relationship. The friendshipship between Elia Kazan and Miller was ruined by the hearings. When Kazan named names and Miller refused ,their long friendship was over. They did not speak for ten years.Miller would not address his distress at his friend's betrayal, although he did publicly praise his work.

What was the response of the former friends to the conflict?

Many friends of Miller responded the same as Kazan did. To save themselves they named names of innocent people, therefore they were saved. However some other friends of his, did not believe such lies that Kazan told and the hysteria he caused.

  1. How did the social values of America in the 50s contribute to the conflict? How didthe 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 great depression affected Miller especcially as he was of a jewish decent, therefore stuggled to overcome the guilt his people and family went through, which ultimatly impacted his and Kazan's relationship. Social Values America in the 1950s had a growing obsession with the Media which led to a decline in Morals and values. Plays and movies were accepted and socially approved which allowed Miller and Kazan to form a relationship based on common interests.

  1. What was the role of bureaucracy / authority in the conflict? What is the parallelwith this play?
Authority and statues is a large part of conflict. Kazans lie to senate Mccarthy, who was involved in the political world, granted him large powers. He then used these powers to his advantage to destruct the lives of innocent people to save himself and his career. His high statues made officials and the government believe his false accusations, therefore he had a plausible allibi.
  1. How could the discrediting of HUAC, Hollywood 10, blacklisting, be seen to be paralleled in the play?

This is paralle to the play because it relates to the people in the village of Salem have been accused of witchcraft, and worshipping evil spirits. These

people are a huge disgrace to the community, and their thought are disregarded.

  1. How was the loyalty of ordinary people tested in both situations?

The loyalty of individuals were tested as people had to make the decision to lie to save themselves and their careers, or take the punishment which was flase accusation, which lead to either death or jail.

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? Whatextra pressure was placed on?

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.It effected him as it erged him to write less tragically about America


What were the ensuring events at the subsequent Oscars?

Kazan won the Oscar of life acheievement, and the events that led to that were anger from the HUAC as they were not mentioned during the Oscar at any point.


  1. How did Kazan perceive a silent position on communism?

It made Kazan feel apart of the governement and the courts who were constantly accusing and placing people in jair


  1. Kazan and Miller discuss the upcoming trial, but years later saw the event verydifferently. How?
Miller felt extremely regretful, however Kazan believed naming innocent people to protect himself and his staues was the right thing to do, and regrets nothing

  1. How was Kazan's next appearance before HUAC differ from the first? How did hejustify 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? Howdid others respond?
the former friends to the conflict?
What was the response of Arthur Miller? How did it contribute to his writing of theCrucible?
"The result of it all is that I have come, rather reluctantly, to respect delusion, not least of all my own. There are no passions quite as hot and pleasurable as those of the deluded. Compared to the bliss of delusion, its vivid colours, blazing lights, explosions, whistles and liberating joys, the search for evidence is a deadly bore. My heart was with the left. if only because the right hated me enough to want to kill me, as the Germans amply proved. And now, the most blatant and most foul anti-semitism is in Russia, leaving people like me filled not so much with surprise as a kind of wonder at the incredible amount of hope there once was, and how it disappeared and whether in time it will ever come again, attached, no doubt, to some new illusion." -Arthur Miller.
  1. What role does hysteria play in both events?

Hysteria in both events plays a large role in expanding the conflict and further inflamming it by lies and claims. It takes peoples dignity, and most importantly their livelihood. No evidence, just accusation forms hysteria just like the play the crucible.


  1. Explain the metaphor connecting Salem and the McCarthy witch hunts. How does theCrucible also reflect Miller's own personal moral conflict?

The metaphor connecting Salem and the Mccarthy witch hunts is when people in the Salem village are innocent and accused of witchcraft from Abigail who only accuse them as she has found power that she intends to keep. Simularly the McCarthy witch hunt, depicts Kazan playing a simular role to Abigail, who accuses innocent people to save his name and career. Power also has a major role. The crucible reflects how Miller felt about the issue and how morally wrong it was to accuse innocent people. In the play i believe he represents himself to be John Proctor, an honourable man he wished he could have been in the 1950's. How was the Crucible received by the audience?

Once viewing the play, the audience discovered that it wasnt only a source of entertainment like Miller's other plays, but more of a reality the community were living in. Despite being a box office success and acclaimed by critics and audiences alike, it was considered second-best to his prior "Death of a Salesman."

  1. How was guilt by association seen in the McCarthy era and the play?

In the crucible guilt is first shown by the girls who where the first to be accused of being involved in the super natural world. Other people in the McCarthy period experienced guilt and the lies told destroyed the life of innocent people.


  1. How does John Proctor's private and public betrayal reflect both Kazan's andMiller's conflicts?

Proctors priavte betrayal reflects the conniving characteristic of Kazan who behind peoples back, just like Proctor, named names, however Proctor only named his own, unlike Kazan. Proctors public betryal to the innocent women liek Rebecca, also reflects Kazan and Millers conflict as Kazan felt proud of the decision he made and didnt regret naming innocent people.


  1. What was the personal and professional cost of Kazan's testimony to him? What doesthis show us about involvement in conflict for its participants?

Kazan had been loved more then anyones else which had had attracted more affection from writers and actors, unlike Lee J Cobb's similar testimony and Jerome Robbins's who seemed unimporatant.

  1. What was Kazan's final revenge?
  2. How ultimately has history judged Miller and Kazan?



Some Files















Some Websites
http://www.shmoop.com/arthur-miller/botw/resources?d=http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/episodes/arthur-miller/none-without-sin/56/

McCarthyism:
http://www.shmoop.com/arthur-miller/botw/resources?d=http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/episodes/arthur-miller/none-without-sin/56/

Modern day witchhunts
http://www.cavalierdaily.com/2010/11/12/modern-day-witch-hunts/