• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Social, Cultural and Historical background of The Crucible.

Extracts from this document...


Social, Cultural and Historical background The Crucible, which portrays the Salem witch trails of 1692, is an obvious allegory for the McCarthy hearings of the 1950s. Joseph McCarthy was a senator during the early 1950s in a time when Americans feared the rise of communism within the country. The Cold War was in its first years and the tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union were rising. Anti-Communism seeped into the air and soon everyone was talking of suspicions. McCarthy established a special court to conduct investigations of accused Communists, much like the court that tried those accused of witchcraft in Salem hundreds of years before. The proceedings were unfair and the basic human rights of Americans were taken away by the invading questions people were asked. ...read more.


Arthur Miller wrote his play The Crucible after experiencing himself the nature of the McCarthy trials. In many ways his story is similar to that of the tragic hero of the production, John Proctor. Called before the committee established by McCarthy, he was asked to testify against his friends. His view is like Proctor's, who exclaims towards the end of the play, "I have three children-how may I teach them to walk like men in the world, and I sold my friends?" Miller, too, refused to testify against his friends. Just as in the era of the Salem witch trials, there were appallingly small numbers of resistance to the events that occurred. Caught up in a sea of propaganda and supposed confessions, the fear of witches and Communists spread until both witch-hunts could be abolished when the hysteria reached a point of absurdity. ...read more.


People found many reasons to accuse each other of witchcraft and hysteria was quickly created. Many people did it because of jealousy; Abigail wanted to get Elizabeth Proctor killed because she was in love with John. Although John Proctor has confessed a sin he still seems to be the Hero of the play. The play would not really work if he were not. John wants to die an innocent man rather than live a guilty one, This poses a problem as the courts know he is innocent, however if they let him live they will risk losing their authority so they must hang him as he didn't confess. The play shows us a lot about The Salem Witch trials is also is a good allegory to the horrors of America! ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Arthur Miller section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Arthur Miller essays

  1. Examine how modern protagonists are caught in a classical, tragic tale of revenge and ...

    Considering the age gap, if Eddie is not the father, then is his behavior towards her acceptable? If he is not the father then what is the relationship between the two? Eddie gets upset when thinking about Catherine getting a job, and when he reluctantly agrees that Catherine should be

  2. How successful is The Crucible as an allegory?

    Miller introduces many characters into his stories, this makes it easier for him to show the effects of McCarthyism, it is easier for him to show how literally every one is accused at some point. During the play almost every character is accused and when you are accused it is

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work