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    The Crucible - An Overview

    Arthur Miller had a distinct purpose in the 1950s when writing The Crucible ­- a play set in Early America, about the Puritans.  During the 1950s, Senator Joseph McCarthy led many anti-communist pursuits against other Americans.  "McCarthyism " represents the making of accusations of disloyalty, subversion, or treason without proper evidence.

    During McCarthyism, many Americans were accused of being Communists or communist sympathizers and became the subject of investigations by government panels and agencies.  The tactics used during this time of McCarthyism closely parallel the Salem Witch Trials.  Many Puritans were accused of being witches with little or no evidence.   Many were found guilty and put to death.  These accusations derived from jealousy over land, money, and power.  Miller recognized the parallel between the Salem Witch Trials and McCarthyism and created from it his allegory, "The Crucible."


    Introduction to the Play

    The following presentation will give you an overview of the play, The Crucible.

    Interactive Witch Hunt

    In order to leave behind the "safe world" of the present and to get a taste of what it was like in Salem in 1692 at the height of the witch hunts, you are going to participate in an interactive web site created by the National Geographic Society.  By fully entering into the activity, you will gain insight into the emotional power of the Salem witch trials and will gain a more complete understanding of the play's literary and historical significance.   Click on the link below to go on your interactive witch hunt.

    National Geo Witch Hunt


    Witchy Woman

    Next, listen to the song "Witchy Woman" performed by the Eagles.   I have attached a copy of the lyrics.   How does modern society view witches?   What are some of the descriptions of witches that you noticed in the song?   As you read the play, think about the stereotypes of witches that are represented in the song compared to the witches of Salem, Massachusetts.   You should notice a big difference.

    Here's a YouTube video with lyrics (below).  If you can't view it, no worries - it isn't required!


    Reading the Play

    You can access the play online through this course, but you might want your own copy of the play The Crucible.  Some students find it easier to read longer texts with a hard copy, so it might be to your benefit to check out a copy from your local library.



    Works Cited
    Salem Witchcraft Hysteria 10 August 2012
    YouTube 29 April 2013 
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