"A play is made by sensing how the forces in life simulate ignorance — you set free the concealed irony, the deadly joke."- Arthur Miller

What we'll read

  • His play depicting the Salem witch trials, called The Crucible (p. 1233).

Our driving question

  • How is a satirecrafted and expressed?
    • by being relate-able to the critiqued situation
      • Often, with a certain distance
      • thus, the morbid irony of the play
        • ex - the need for the accused to confess falsely rather than defend themselves in order to be approved
    • by conveying clear alternative values (a clear sense of what is good and what is bad)
      • in this case, particularly through characterization
Your final task will be asked two questions that directly relate to those goals.
  1. How does a writer craft a satire?
    • Please explain in a paragraph what elements a writer needs to include in order to write an effective satire. In your explanation, be sure to define what a satire is.
  2. How did Arthur Miller craft The Crucible as a satire?
    • Please explain in a paragraph or two how Miller specifically made The Crucible a satire. Please use specific examples from the play (at least three) to help you explain this.


  • We head to the library for you to research this topic, as it was the inspiration and real target of Miller's satire. Research McCarthyism, the Red Scare, Senator Joseph McCarthy, anti-communism, House of Un-American Activities, and see what you can find. Summarize one article you read using our summary sheet.


More on Miller

More on The Crucible

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