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Arthur Miller’s account of the “Salem Witch Trials” in colonial Massachusetts between 1692–93, is an allegorical play which points to the climate of hysteria surrounding McCarthyism in the 1950s.
The Crucible is a heavy, cheerless play, principally about, honour, power and its abuses. When Miller was called to testify before the “Un-American Activities Commission” in 1956, he was sentenced to a year in gaol for contempt of Congress, for refusing to name names. The conviction was eventually over-turned on appeal.