Contemporary Events Leading to The Crucible
When The Crucible opened on January 22, 1953, audiences greeted it with lukewarm applause. Critics did what they do best by berating the new play. What is now arguably the most influential allegorical play on the subject of Communism written during the Cold War era, did simply horribly during its first production run. Broadway audiences took the play as a history lesson, while critics were hesitant to promote a play hailing the hunt for Communists as downright incredulous. Yet less than one year later, with the House of Un-American Activities Committee's trials in full swing, and with Hollywood in turmoil, an entirely new production of The Crucible swept the nation and became an instant hit (Miller, Why I Wrote) .Today, some 40 years later, The Crucible is known internationally, performed in dozens of countries, and is a symbol for a myriad of political and social ideas. Based on the Salem witch trials in colonial Massachusetts, The Crucible is open to different interpretations. However, to truly understand the original underlying message that Miller attempted to create, one must look to the reasons behind his writing of this play and examine how Miller embodies his ideas within the play itself.
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