Arthur Miller's The Crucible depicts the events in Salem Massachusetts, beginning in the winter of 1692, known as the Salem Witch Trials. The events of the play center around girls who become unexplainably ill after it is found out they dabbled in "witchcraft" in the woods with the help of the minister's Barbados born slave, Tituba. Mass hysteria ensued when the girls began to blame outcast and fringe members of the community for their illness. This led to multiple arrests, trials, and hangings based only on the accusations of the girls. Arthur Miller drew a parallel in The Crucible between the hysteria surrounding the witchcraft trials in Puritan New England and the postwar climate of McCarthyism and the HUAC hearings.
The information that you will learn during this webquest is crucial to your understanding of The Crucible. For this webquest, there are three categories and each student in your table group will conduct research on one. When you choose your category, skim the articles for each link provided and watch the videos; then copy and paste the questions listed on the "process" page into a shared google doc. You will then type a response to each. In the end, your group will have the answers to all the questions. (Note: you may use sources outside of the links provided if needed. Ex: Textbooks, unlisted websites, etc.)
Category 1: Arthur Miller
Category 2: Joseph McCarthy/McCarthyism
Category 3: The Red Scare
Category 4: House Un-American Activities Community (HUAC)
Category 1: Arthur Miller
-For the second article, you may skip to down to the section that starts with "paranoia breeds paranoia" and then skim from that point to the end of the article for the answer to #7.
- How did the Wall Street Crash of 1929 impact Miller's family?
- What university did he attend?
- How did he earn money to go to school?
- When did he start writing?
- What awards has he won for his works? Be sure to name the two works and all of the awards he won for those works.
- What famous actress was he married to?
- What inspired him to write The Crucible?
- What was Arthur Miller’s involvement with McCarthyism?
- In May of 1957 what was Miller found guilty of?
Category 2: Joseph McCarthy/McCarthyism/Red Scare
- Who was Joseph McCarthy?
- What is McCarthyism?
- What did Joseph McCarthy do that caused mass hysteria?
- What fear dominated American society in the 1940s and 50s?
- What were at least three of the consequences should a person be found guilty of communism?
- What happened to Senator McCarthy as a result of his accusations?
- Name at least two other people in Hollywood affected by McCarthyism.
- What is the Red Scare and who is to blame for it?
- What did it mean to be "blacklisted" during this era?
- What does subversion mean? How does it apply to this topic?
- How did the Red Scare impact Arthur Miller when writing The Crucible?
Category 3: The House Un-American Activities Committee
- What is the HUAC?
- What is its purpose?
- How and by whom was it formed?
- Name at least 3 consequences that could be had if a person was found guilty by the HUAC.
- What impact did the HUAC have on Hollywood?
- It's been said that the HUAC violated American values in the search for Communists. Name 2-3 examples of why this might be true.
- How does the HUAC relate to McCarthyism and The Crucible?