BBC Learning Zone Clips

CLIP 2511

The Crucible: historical and political context

The Crucible: historical and political context
Key Info
  • The Crucible: historical and political context
  • Duration: 05:08
  • A comprehensive exploration of the historical and political context that sits behind Arthur Miller's play, 'The Crucible'. Through commentary by Miller, voiceover and original newsreel clips, Miller explores the motivation for writing the play - an emotional response to the situation that was developing in the USA. This includes an account of his own personal involvement in the anti-communist fervour that was quickly turning into a witch hunt. The scale of the persecution and the strength of feeling is illustrated, including Miller's own sense of desperation and outrage about the treatment of people. He refers to Salem and the 1692 witch trials and the part this played in his writing of 'The Crucible'.
  • Credits: British Movietone, Corbis
  • Subject:



    Drama: Post 1900

  • Keywords: social context, political context, witch hunt, anti-communism, influence,traitor, fascism, patriotism, left wing view, drama, theatre, Arthur Miller, The Crucible
Ideas for use in class
  • Prereading: show this clip prior to reading/watching 'The Crucible'. Ask students to bullet point the key ideas that influenced Miller and which led to 'The Crucible' being written. Postreading: revisit this clip and ask students to reflect on how much this helped their understanding of the play.
Background details
  • Clip language : English
  • Aspect ratio : 16x9

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