Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Salem, 1692

The events in Arthur Miller's The Crucible took place much later but Barry mentioned witch trials occurring in early colonial Massachusetts.   I was surprised Anne Hutchinson didn't find herself burnt at a stake given her outspoken views.  Instead, she briefly joined Roger Williams in Providence before her sad fate at the hands of the Siwanoy warriors, as a result of the fallout of the Dutch-Indian wars.   Miller saw his play as an allegory of the McCharthyism of the 50s, so the events depicted shouldn't be taken literally.  I hadn't realized The Crucible was made into a movie with Daniel Day-Lewis and Winona Ryder.


  1. I have seen the movie but can't say I recommend it, and I really like Daniel Day-Lewis.

  2. Thanks for the heads up. I've seen a couple productions over the years. I have to say that I liked Death of a Salesman better. Thought this play was a little too pointed.

  3. I liked both the play and the film version with Daniel Day Lewis, Winona Ryder, and Paul Scofield in a chilling role. It’s not as highly regarded as Death of a Salesman which is indisputably Miller’s great masterpiece. The Crucible packed more of a punch when it debuted during the McCarthy era, which in fact was the inspiration for Miller to write the play. He was angered seeing fellow writers afraid to freely write and publish for fear of their careers being ruined.

  4. http://www.gnostics.com/sarah3.html

    Three Sovereigns for Sarah (1985)


    "The brutal Salem witch trials provide the setting for this provocative drama that presents the story of an accused woman who survived the ordeal. Like her two older sisters, poor Sarah faces a trial herself. The sisters were tortured, found guilty and burned. Despite her fear, Sarah proves that her family is innocent of the charges. This film originally appeared on PBS television's American Playhouse."

    Superb acting by Vanessa Redgrave as Sarah Cloyce. This movie serves as a good intro for those not familiar with the historical events that led to Miller's book.

  5. clip from the above movie:


  6. Thanks, Trip. The other Miller play I remember seeing was All My Sons, which made the most impact on me. There was a good American Playhouse production years ago with James Whitmore as the father,


  7. possible inspiration for Salem Witch trials:



  8. Barry noted that "witch trials" were taking place in the 1640s in the New England colonies.

    1. Indeed, among many of the charges she faced, Anne Hutchinson was called a witch!