McCarthyism and "The Crucible" Webquest


Arthur Miller's The Crucible is a play that depicts the events of the Salem Witch Trials in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1692. The events that unfold center around girls who become unexplainably ill after it is found out they dabbled in witchcraft in the woods with the minister's slave, Tituba. Mass hysteria ensues when the girls began to blame others for their illness leading to the trials and people being arrested and hung because of the accusations from these young 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. 


Click on "task" to see the instructions for your webquest.


The information that you will learn during this webquest is crucial to your understanding of The Crucible. For this webquest, there are five categories and each student will conduct research on one.   When you are assigned your category, skim the articles for each link provided and watch the videos; then copy and paste the questions listed on the "process" page and  in a google doc, type a response to each. (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 5: The Salem Witch Trials


Click on "process" to see the instructions for each category. 


*All categories can use this link:  General Info About the Era


Category 1: Arthur Miller



Writing "The Crucible"

 -For the second article, you may skip to down to the section that starts with "paranoia breeds paranoia" and skim from that point to the end of the article for the answer to #7.     


  1. How did the Wall Street Crash of 1929 impact Miller's family?
  2. What university did he attend? 
  3. How did he earn money to go to school?
  4. When did he start writing?
  5. 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.  
  6. What famous actress was he married to?
  7. What inspired him to write The Crucible
  8. What was Arthur Miller’s involvement with McCarthyism?
  9. In May of 1957 what was Miller found guilty of? 


Category 2: Joseph McCarthy/McCarthyism



  1. Who was Joseph McCarthy?
  2. What is McCarthyism?
  3. What did Joseph McCarthy do that caused mass hysteria? 
  4. What fear dominated American society in the 1940s and 50s?
  5. What were at least three of the consequences should a person be found guilty of communism?
  6. What happened to Senator McCarthy as a result of his accusations?
  7. Name at least two other people in Hollywood affected by McCarthyism.


Category 3: The Red Scare

Red Scare

McCarthyism and The Red Scare


  1. What is the Red Scare? 
  2. What did it mean to be "blacklisted" during this era? 
  3. What is Communism? 
  4. What does subversion mean? How does it apply to this topic? 
  5. Who is to blame for the Red Scare? 
  6. How did the Red Scare impact the Arthur Miller when writing The Crucible? 




Category 4: The House Un-American Activities Committee


  1. What is the HUAC? 
  2. What is its purpose? 
  3. How and by whom was it formed?
  4. Name at least 3 consequences that could be had if a person was found guilty by the HUAC.
  5. What impact did the HUAC have on Hollywood? 
  6. Its been said that the HUAC violated American values in search for Communists. Name 2-3 examples of why this might be true.  
  7. How does the HUAC relate to McCarthyism and The Crucible


Category 5: The Salem Witch Trials

The Salem Witch Trials PPT

Salem Witch Trials Video

  1. Provide key facts about the Salem witch trials. (dates, convictions, deaths etc)
  2. Who were the Puritans and what did they believe in? 
  3. What is a Crucible? 
  4. Describe life with the Native Americans. 
  5. What were common beliefs of the Supernatural (including witches) at the time of the Salem Witch Trials? 
  6. Explain the punishments administered by the Puritans. 
  7. What caused the hysteria in Salem?

Present all your information in the form of a powtoon, prezi, imovie, or something with video and audio to give you practice for your assessment task. Make sure your teacher can access the video footage. 

We will be watching all of the presentations in our next lesson.