The Crucible by Arthur Miller - En-c

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Transcript The Crucible by Arthur Miller - En-c

The Crucible
A Brief Introduction to the Puritans
The Crucible
by Arthur Miller
The Salem Witch Trials of
Published in 1953
The Puritans
Question 1: What does
the word Puritan remind
you of?
• The Puritans began as a faction of the English Church.
• Groups of Puritans came to New England in the 1620-30s.
• Hoped to cleanse their culture and religion of impurity and corruption.
• Believed that government should strictly enforce public morality by
prohibiting vices like drunkenness, gambling, ostentatious dress, swearing,
and Sabbath-breaking.
Puritans believed that:
• All people are innately sinful (because of Adam and
• God would spare a small number of elect individuals
from the eternal hellfire that all mankind, owing to their
corrupt natures, justly deserved.
• The elect group of "saints" would be blessed, at some
point in their lives, by a profound sense of inner
assurance that they possessed God's "saving grace."
• God decided who would be elect before human history
began; in other words, your fate was
• You could not get “extra-credit” by doing good things
during your life.
Why DID the Puritans believe in
Change and uncertainty made people
seek a certainty and stability in
themselves and in their religion that
was missing from the outside world!
Question 3: How do you think that
Puritans would act due to the fact
that they believed in
• Strove to lead godly and
disciplined lives—but not because
they hoped that such righteous
behavior would earn them
• Believed that their very ability to
master their evil inclinations
provided some evidence that they
ranked among the elect of saints.
• In other words, the Puritans did not
regard leading a godly, moral life
as the CAUSE of a person's
salvation, but rather as an
encouraging sign of the EFFECT
of being chosen by God to enjoy
eternal bliss in heaven.
The Red Scare
Ideas or accusations spread to help one’s
cause or damage the other side’s cause
Communism 101
• Communism is an economic system.
• BUT, historically, Communism has been
linked with dictatorships
• After World War II ended, the United
States entered the “Cold War” with the
Soviet Union Both sides had nuclear
technology, so the threat was HUGE
• The Soviet Union was Communist, SO
Americans regarded Communism as
something evil
• The Soviet Union tested its first
nuclear weapon (1949)
• It also invaded mainland China (1949)
• Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were
accused of stealing nuclear bomb
secrets from America and selling them
to the Soviet Union (1950)
"I have here in my
hand a list of 205 — a
list of names that were
made known to the
Secretary of State as
being members of the
Communist Party and
who nevertheless are
still working and
shaping policy in the
State Department."
What do you think happened
after McCarthy revealed that
he had a list of 205
The Witch Hunt
• House Un-American Activities Committee
• 109 investigations (1949-1954)
• Wiretaps, burglaries, and opening mail
Video Clip-McCarthy
"Are you now or have you
ever been a member of the
Communist Party of the
United States?"
Video Clip—2:36-4:30, 12:35-14:15
Hollywood and Communism
People Affected by McCarthyism
Langston Hughes
W.E.B. DuBois
Charlie Chaplin
Orson Welles
Arthur Miller
• January 22, 1953 – The Crucible opens on
• June 29, 1956 – Miller marries Marilyn
• Just before his wedding, the HUAC calls
Miller to testify
• Miller admits to his Communist activities,
but he refuses to name names
• Thirty days prison, denied passport
• Conviction overturned in 1958
"I could not use the name of
another person and bring trouble
on him."
Video Clip