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.

What was the crime of Elia Kazan?
Elia Kazan was accused of communism. He controversially named 8 others that supposedly were communists.
Why did Arthur Miller and Elia Kazan come into conflict?
Elia Kazan accused Arthur Miller of being a communist to safve himself from being blacklisted and to protect his job, even though Miller was not in any way involved in the communist party.
What was the relationship between Miller and Kazan prior to the McCarthy period?
Before the McCarthy period, Both Kazan and Miller were friends, Kazan had directed two of Miller's plays; "Death of a salesman" and "All my sons".
What was the response of the former friends to the conflict?
Kaza said he didnt feel guilty, because he'd rather hurt others a little, than hurt himself alot.
How did the social values of America in the 50s contribute to the conflict?
The conflict was shaped by socialism because in the 50's, a person's reptutation means alot. And because Miller was accused, his reputation was ruined.
How did the depression contribute to the values of Miller and Kazan?
The depression that Miller and Kazan both felt made them not think rationally and make harsh decisions, for example, Kazan's depression led him to name innocent people as communists.
In the play,society's values also play a role. What are these values and their effects?
The society's values are very religious. Going to church, Learning the ten commandments and Praying are a big part of the expectations that the society holds.
How could the discrediting of HUAC, Hollywood 10, blacklisting, be seen to be parralelled in tthe play?
This is parralelle to the the play because it matches when the villagers of Salem are accused of witchcraft, they are discredited in society and nobody will believe what they have to say or value thier oppinion.
How was the loyalty of ordinary people tested in both situations?
The loyalty was tested in both situations because the ordinary people may have had to be un-loyal in order to save thier reputatons.
What were the ensuring events at the subsequent Oscars?
kazan won an orcar for life achievment, and an uproar occured because not one member of the HUAC was mentioned.
Kazan and Miller discuss the upcoming trial, but years later saw the event verydifferently. How?
Kazan still had no regrets about naming others as communists, but Miller had great regrets, and wishes that he was able to correct his choice.
What was the response of Arthur Miller? How did it contribute to his writing of the Crucible?
"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.
What role does hysteria play in both events?
Hysteria allowed the conflict to grow to appear as something far greater than it was. The hysteria let both sides act against their morals.
Explain the metaphor connecting Salem and the McCarthy witch hunts.
The Salem witch trials in "the Crucible" are a metaphore for the McCarthy trials. This is shown when the characters in Salem accuse others without any proof just to save their lives. This relates to McCarthyism because in the 1950's, people would accuse innocent people of being a communist, just to get rid of them, if they wanted something, or to save their reputation.
How does theCrucible also reflect Miller's own personal moral conflict?
The Crucible shows Miller's inner conflict because John Proctor shows the decisions that he wishes he had made. To protect innocent lives and to protect his name and family.
How was the Crucible received by the audience?

"The director, Jed Harris, a great name in the theatre of the 20s, 30s and 40s, had decided that the play, which he believed a classic, should be staged like a Dutch painting. In Dutch paintings of groups, everyone is always looking front. Unfortunately, on a stage such rigidity can only lead an audience to the exits. Several years after, a gang of young actors, setting up chairs in the ballroom of the McAlpin Hotel, fired up the audience, convinced the critics, and the play at last took off and soon found its place. There were cheering reviews but by then Senator McCarthy was dead. The public fever on whose heatwaves he had spread his wings had subsided."

How was guilt by association seen in the McCarthy era and the play?
Guilt by assosiation was shown in The Crucible with the children, because they were all accused at first, as they were all in a group. Guilty by assosiation was shown in the McCarthy era by the examples of people who were accused of being a communist just because they were talking to another person who was accused of being a communist.
How does John Proctor's private and public betrayal reflect both Kazan's and Miller's conflicts?

How did the critical response to the Crucible reflect the dangerous times it wasproduced in?

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?

What was Kazan's final revenge?

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/