Arthur Miller is considered to be one of the greatest playwrights of recent times, and was responsible for classics such as Death of A Salesman, All My Sons and The Crucible. The Crucible was written in 1953. The play's theme of hysteria and fear within average citizens is similar to that created by Joseph McCarthy in 1950, often called McCarthyism. McCarthy was responsible for creating fear in America that Russian Communism would take over the world thus crushing the American Dream. Miller was disgusted by the way that people were forced to name names, and in response to this he decided to write the Crucible. Miller noticed the parallels between the witch hunts of the 1600's and the present day McCarthyism situation, and wrote this play in response.
The play is filled with tension, created by forces which come together to produce a highly dramatic chain of events all leading one after the other.
The first example of tension in the play happens immediately. We are introduced to the character Reverend Parris. Parris is kneeling, weeping at his daughter's sick bed,
"Out of here!"
This is when Parris shouts at his servant, Tituba, who enquires about the child's health. It shows how tense Parris is and also about how worried he is, he is also worried as he himself knows that the girls were dancing in the woods and this is a sure sign of witchcraft. He is also scared as both he and the doctor cannot do anything to help cure Betty, and so are left powerless watching her. Maybe this may indicate to Parris, especially as he is a reverend and thus a holy man, that her problems are more supernatural than that of a sick person.
"you might look for unnatural things for the cause of it"
This displays one of the most important causes of tension in the play, how characters blame all that happens on the supernatural. Another example of this is when Mrs Putnam blames her babies death...