A Time Machine Called The Crucible Essay

Submitted By DMTB317
Words: 764
Pages: 4

Dylan Bailey
Mrs. Allen
H English 12
Oct. 6, 2014
A Time Machine Called “The Crucible” In 1953 a writer by the name of Arthur Miller introduced his 1952 play, The Crucible, as it was performed on Broadway at the Martin Beck. “Despite the box office success critics at the time considered it to be second-rate compared to his prior work, Death of a Salesman” (Galvin, Rachel). So if the play did not match up to its predecessor, why did it receive such positive box office hits? This play, like most literary pieces, was a sort of time machine that allowed the viewers to travel through the fabric of time and see into the lives of those who lived before themselves; and audiences flocked to the live performance at the chance of having the opportunity of getting to view historical moments from the past, first hand. Although Arthur Miller was born in October of 1915, events of the play were based off those that occurred in Salem, Massachusetts in 1692. That is 253 years before he even born. No living human being at the time could have experienced the events that transpired in Salem in person, so The Crucible was their only life link of seeing what life was really like back then. The play may have been a fictionalized work but it was based off of factual events that were occurring in the time period of the setting. Salem, Massachusetts at the time was ruled by the monarchy that was the Puritan Church. The church ruled with an iron fist and punished anybody who sinned or committed an action that opposed their religious beliefs. This fact did not collaborate well with the mad hysteria that was sweeping through the Puritan culture at the time. Everywhere you turned somebody was being accused of conjuring the dead or consulting with the devil himself. The Salem Witch Trials as they came to be known left hundreds accused of witchcraft, dozens languishing in jail without a trial, nineteen men and women hanged, and one man crushed to death under heavy stones. Only an unfortunate combination of religious overtaking, gender role, economic conditions, congregational strife, teenage boredom, and personal jealousies that can account for the travesty of justice that occurred (Linder, Douglas). The Crucible fulfilled its job of showing us what life was like in the past while also conveying an interesting story. Arthur Miller wrote as if he was there in the midst of the trials. He performed this well enough to convince some people that the entire play was based off factual events. Although the Salem Witch Trials was a real event and many of the characters share names of those associated with it, the play is still a fictional piece of literature. Miller himself once said, “The play is not reportage of any kind…[n]obody can start to write a tragedy and hope to make it reportage…what I was doing was writing a fictional story about an important theme”. The “important theme” that Miller was writing about reflected the time period in which he wrote the play. It was written in response to, “…Senator Joseph McCarthy and the House Un-American Activities…