Arthur Miller's Influence On Society

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Many authors are influenced by what’s going on in the world around them. Historians will often examine literature from previous eras to give insight into what that time was like. Authors like Arthur Miller are often affected by whatever controversy is ailing the world at that period in time. Authors often will also write about the problems in their own personal lives. Therefore, Arthur Miller’s arguably most famous work, The Crucible, was influenced by the paranoia of communism in the 50s and his personal relationships.
Those who’ve read or seen The Crucible would make the obvious assumption that the play is based on the Salem witch trials. In 1692, the Puritans in Salem Massachusetts were terrified when accusations of witchcraft began to be thrown around. Women would confess and then accuse someone else. Eventually, a total of twenty innocent people were found guilty and hanged (Popkin 140). Similarly, in the 1950s, there were those who were associated with communism. Certain politicians who came into office such as Sen. Joseph McCarthy, began to instill fear into people by saying communists had infiltrated the american government. This soon became known as the Red Scare. It became somewhat of a witch hunt for communists. The House Un-American Activities Committee called people to testify and name names. People were as
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The Crucible was a bold play;it was critiqued harshly. Some critics even called Miller a “problem playwright”(“Why I Wrote the Crucible” 5). Eventually Miller along with actors and directors were questioned about being or knowing of communist sympathizers. Popkin says that “Miller was a somewhat unfriendly witness before a congressional committee in 1956. He described his own flirtation with communism but refused to give the names of communists he had known. He was ultimately absolved of the charge of contempt of the
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