On Sunday 10th October 2021, the book club that runs under the aegis of Gyan Adab brought the remarkable and controversial play The Crucible by Arthur Miller to the table for discussion to understand its relevance till date.
The session was led by Suhaile Azavedo from the Department of English, St Mira’s College using zoom. She opened with the historical and political backdrop of the play which is central to understanding the deeper allegorical meaning that so richly contributes to the textured meaning of the play.
She chalked out the reason why Miller wrote the play, which was primarily as a response to Senator McCarthy’s Era and the Red Scare where eminent stars from Hollywood be it Arthur Miller himself, Ronald Reagan, Charlie Chaplin or Walt Disney were questioned for being communist supporters. Miller draws upon a shameful past in American history to mirror an appalling present. Azavedo went on to explain how the play The Crucible is based on the Salem Witch Trials of 1962. From 1962-1963 the Puritan Community brought to trial 200 people and executed 19. Miller’s play is in 4 Acts and ends with Salem being left to rot to symbolize the political, social, and economic rot it represents.
Latika Padgoankar commented on the irony that Miller chose witch hunts from a theocratic society to object against anti-communist outrage in America.
Dr Prashant Sinha mentioned that 1945 was when the Russians took East Germany and much of Eastern Europe which contributed to the paranoia against Russia.
Tazeem Canteenwala from Mumbai shared a bit of nostalgia as after the performance the audience stood up and gave Miller a standing silent ovation. It was a tribute from the people when the government failed to support him.
The session was well received by the participants. The next weeks session is on Dante a literary giant that everyone should experience.