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McCarthyism in Arthur Miller's The Crucible

. . Guardedness, suspicion, aloof circumspection--- . . . what have [these traits] ever had to do with the creative act? . . . Out of the hectoring of columnists, the compulsions of patriotic gangs, the suspicions of the honest and the corrupt alike, art never will and never has found soil (Miller 160).

The point Miller is making is that his play should not be seen as a political treatise arguing against McCarthyism and nothing more. He is finally arguing for the freedom of expression of the individual, even when that expression appears to defy social standards and understanding.

Miller writes that "It was not only the rise of 'McCarthyism' that moved me, but something which seemed much more weird and mysterious. It was the fact that a political, objective, knowledgeable campaign from the far Right was capable of creating not only a terror, but a new subjective reality, a veritable mystique which was gradually assuming even a holy resonance" (Miller 161-162).

The Crucible, then, is about McCarthyism in the same way that Moby Dick is about whaling. Miller is writing about an external force which deliberately terrorizes a nation of apparently thinking individuals and does so in such a way that they do not even see the design behind the terror. Miller writes "That so interior and subjective an emotion could have been so manifestly created from without was a marvel to me. It underlies every word in The Crucible" (Miller 1


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McCarthyism in Arthur Miller's The Crucible. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 21:26, October 24, 2014, from
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