And compare the life and—spoiler—death of protagonist John Proctor with one of the many people whose lives were derailed because they were accused of being a Communist.
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John Proctor, whose affair with a young girl jumpstarts the witch-hunts, is accused of being a witch when he tries to stand up to the insane-o accusations that plague Salem. As a result of this, he's asked to name names of other "witches. Although the penalty for being a Communist wasn't death during the McCarthy era, it was the complete loss of respectability and career. For example, some of the most brightly shining Hollywood stars of the era lost their jobs because of Red-baiting. And many more—including Arthur Miller—were disgusted and horrified by the way that American politics circa had started seeming an awful lot like Salem politics circa This play caught on like wildfire It won Miller a Tony.
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It's been made into three movies and a Pulitzer Prize-winning opera. And it's been introducing students of literature to two periods of fear-mongering in American history double your pleasure, double your fun?
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We wish we could say you should read The Crucible for its awesome costumes. Or its snappy dialogue.
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Or its hawt forbidden love story. Or the fact that, hey: witches are cool.
There is something about the potent cocktail of fear, anxiety, passion, and jealousy in The Crucible that we find disturbingly familiar. The Crucible drives home just how sickeningly often history repeats itself. Fearing the spread of Communism and seeing it as a threat to the nation and to individual freedoms, the American government, led by Senator Joseph McCarthy, sought out every single communist in the U.
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Soon the whole country was whipped into a moral frenzy. Arthur Miller, playwright extraordinaire, realized that the lingo being thrown around by McCarthy sounded very similar to the language used in the Salem Witch Trials some years before , a historical period he researched heavily while in college.
So he wrote The Crucible. This might sound moderately cool to you, even if it contains two layers of retro —the 's and the 's. In the 's, a similar a witch-hunt developed over the issue of child molestation. Stalin's Great Purge was eerily similar to a witch-hunt in its erratic and demented nature. On the great ride that was to follow the fall of Beersheba we were to pass through ancient history in every mile. The old Hebrew cities are still there with their Roman and Crusader ruins. The highly mobile campaign brought the New Zealand soldiers into contact with many areas rich in history and religious significance, much of which would have been familiar to them through literature and their religious education.
And while the Sinai-Palestine Campaign was a sideshow of the First World War compared to the titanic struggle on the Western Front, the collapse of Ottoman power in late was to have immense long-term consequences on the history of the region. Although fighting the war was the primary purpose for the New Zealanders being in Sinai and Palestine, the New Zealand Mounted Rifles spent considerable time not fighting.
Training camps and rest camps were located away from the front line, and the soldiers quickly developed an appreciation for sight-seeing, amateur archaeology and exploring religious sites. Five New Zealand mounted riflemen posing on a visit to the Sphinx in Egypt.
Sidney Grant is at right. Sight-seeing was very important and popular for the New Zealand soldiers. It began almost immediately after their arrival in Egypt, with soldiers anxious to see all that Cairo had to offer.
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Major sights visited included the pyramids, the sphinx, the bazaars, the tomb of Mohammed Ali and the Citadel. Large numbers of Egyptians waited outside Moascar camp, selling their services as tour guides. Enthusiasm for touring did not cease when the soldiers moved into Palestine. Many visited the Biblical sites which they would have read about since they were children, especially in Jerusalem following its capture in December Military chaplains were enthusiastic tour guides, organising parties of soldier and explaining the history and significance of the sites visited.
A group of soldiers inspect a thirteenth-century minaret in the town of Ramla, Palestine. Image courtesy of Hocken Collections, Album , Pc.
Read more on the Hocken Blog. Unsurprisingly, amateur archaeology was also a popular pastime.