The Crucible - 17th century witchcraft, 20th century blacklists, a 21st century list - forever relevant!
The Crucible - a 1996 movie adaptation of Arthur Miller's play written in the early 1950s. I hadn't researched the film, it was a random choice, prompted by a misleading one line synopsis at Netflix. Oddly though, the movie turned out to be a wee bit relevant to what had been in online news last week, and mentioned by commenter LB on 30 November. The Washington Post had published a list of 200 websites and blogs named by a group of (un-identfied) researchers as being pro-Russian or helpful to Russian aims of meddling with US electoral matters. The list originally contained reputable sites such as Truthdig, Counterpunch, naked capitalism, the owners of which have since objected strongly to the smear, some have threatened to sue the newspaper. There was/is a definite smell of blacklisting in the air. Washington Post has not yet fully apologised nor retracted the article's content.
Anyway...back toThe Crucible
These snips come from a blogger's review HERE
The play, written in 1953, is set in Salem during the infamous witch hunts of 1692. The Crucible shows how false accusations and lies can lead to the destruction of a society through fear. The accusations of witchcraft shown here are mainly fuelled through uncertainty towards things that are not easily understood, or things that are unfamiliar. Miller’s play was written as a clear allegory for the 1950’s ‘witch hunt’ for communists in America, otherwise known as McCarthysim. However the message of The Crucible is just as relevant today as it was when published..........
(An update) What Does The Message of The Crucible Mean Today?
(Added on 20th November 2016) I’ve returned to this blog post over a year after originally posting to consider how The Crucible is just as relevant today than it has ever been before. The horrifying year of 2016 has brought about the likes of Brexit and Donald Trump. Both events seem built on the process of make outsiders of minorities in order to pass blame from ourselves onto others. We aren’t executing people under the guise of being witches, but figures such as Trump and Farage are indeed whipping up a sense of hysteria within society. By saying that foreigners are to blame, these figures are inciting a sense of xenophobia and racism, that, as shown by The Crucible, are the preliminary ways of society tearing itself apart.
My point of relevance of The Crucible is different, but related. In publishing that unsubstantiated list of websites and blogs, The Washington Post was acting in clear McCarthy style.
This snipped from weebly.com
Arthur Miller wrote the play The Crucible in response to the red scare of the 1950’s, in which he was was condemned for disrespect & disapproval of the United States Congress for being unsuccessful in naming numerous individuals who had attended meetings with him. In a bid to not only secure his career as a journalist & play writer and also to alert the American people against the government misinformation & propaganda that were headed their way. The characters in the play are faced with the same tragedies & sentences that befell people during the McCarthyism trials; he uses the ‘Salem Witch Trials’ as a metaphor to draw national attention towards the doings and executioners of the McCarthyism propaganda.
Arthur Miller uses allegory in his play, The Crucible, to show the similarities between the Salem witch trials and the Red Scare. During the McCarthy era, freedom was a very important aspect in life; during the Salem witch trials, religion was a very important aspect of life. In both of these events, people are frightened. The Red Scare led to many people fearing others, thinking everyone was a Communist. In the Salem witch trials, witchcraft is threatening the village. Miller also wanted to show the similarity between both corrupt courts in these two events. In the Salem witch trials, all substantial evidence is through out of the window, and everything that supports witchcraft is valid. Much is the same with the Red Scare court system.
In The Crucible Arthur Miller created a longer-lasting, wider-reaching allegory than he could have realised at the time. For astrology fans, his natal chart is available at Astrodatabank, here. He had Sun in Libra with Moon and Uranus in Aquarius, possibly Libra rising.