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The incessant babble and relentless clatter of bustling New York City, a symphony of six million souls, fades

into obscurity as I ascend the cracked, yet majestic steps to the burnished mahogany door flanked by pillars of ornate marble. As I reach out my hand to knock it swings open, revealing the hunched, yet distinguished figure of a man whose twinkling eyes and infectious grin instantly make me feel at ease. Arthur. Arthur Miller, he announces in a deep, gravelly voice, extending a wrinkled, knotted hand, A pleasure to meet you. I smile, entering into a handshake surprisingly firm for a man of his age, thanking him for this remarkable opportunity. I dont give many interviews he reveals as we move through the grandiose entrance into a spacious room, its walls flanked with rows upon rows of books, old and new, their musty scent filling the room, releasing an intoxicating air of knowledge and wisdom. He invites me to take a seat; recovering from my initial awe I pull out my notepad, clear my throat and begin the interview. Recently your play, The Crucible, was recognized as one of the greatest works of the 20th Century. When you wrote The Crucible, in the early 1950s, it was extremely relevant, an allegory of the McCarthyist hysteria sweeping across America. Nowadays, with the Red Hunt nothing but a distant memory, can modern readers still draw parallels between the world today and 17th Century Salem? Reclining in the plush, antique chair he pauses, gathering his thoughts, his brilliant mind concocting a reply I know will blow me away. In anticipation I ready my pen, flick the switch to record, and wait like a dog for a bone, eager for an insight into the wonderful mind of this wonderful man. Essentially The Crucible is a tale of the effects of conflict, and how different individuals react in different ways. Conflict is inevitable, pervasive in human nature, yet it is the continuous cycle of human conflict that provides a catalyst for change, progress and the opportunity to deepen our experience in life. As my great friend Saul Alinsky once said: Change means movement. Movement means friction. Only in the frictionless vacuum of a nonexistent abstract world can movement or change occur without that abrasive friction of conflict. Conflict is universal to human experience, and we must accept that. Rather than seek to always avoid conflict, we should instead respond in a morally correct manner, for it is our actions in the face of adversity that truly define us. In the years after the horrific Second World War, I was fortunate enough to make the acquaintance of Topsy Merret, an inspirational woman who spent 3 years in a Japanese prisoner of war camp. As she related her experience to me I immediately recognized the similarities between the internal and external conflicts she faced, and the conflict faced by the inhabitants of Salem, which I was researching at the time. She told me stories of the missionary Daisy Drummond, an amazing woman who brought the women together and stood up for all, letting her faith sustain her until the end. Daisy, in fact, was an inspiration for the character of Rebecca Nurse in The Crucible, a woman who does not hate

her oppressors, but merely pities them. Topsy also told me of their Japanese captors, men who at first treated the women as less than human, beating them without reason. Yet over time two of these men in particular, a sergeant and an interpreter, began to reveal a more humane side of themselves, showing pity and respect for their prisoners. These men provided a model for my Reverend John Hale, a bad guy driven by a corrupt theocracy who eventually discovers his inner humanity and changes his ways. The conflict of World War II led these men to reconsider their opinions of Europeans, changing them for the better. Conflict often does this; brings out the best in people. The very definition of a Crucible is a melting pot designed to withstand great heat that contains diverse, perhaps incompatible, elements. When exposed to the flames of conflict, many of these elements are burnt up and exposed for the shallow souls they are. Yet others are refined and shine all the more brightly after their experience. John Proctor's decision of death was a moral and unselfish choice, taken solely to protect his family, his friends, and his name from ridicule, humiliation, and persecution. Along with Giles Corey and other upstanding members of Salem society, his decision not to make false accusations to save his own life is an example that many would do well to follow. I myself thought of the morality of John Proctor, when I was brought before the McCarthyist court in 1958, and realized that while it would save my name, the shame of betraying others as part of a communist cult would stay with me for life. While the consequences for my silence were not quite as dire as for John Proctor, it was still a difficult decision to make. When a community is exposed to conflict individuals will respond in a variety of ways, many with selfish intentions, yet heroism and moral integrity is apparent in the responses of a select few. We must recognize the inevitability of conflict, and ensure that we strive to emulate the altruistic and heroic actions of these people. As the last of his enthralling words fade into the ether I realize my pen has not touched the paper, so mesmerized was I by his answer so eloquently given. Speechless, I contemplate the eloquence of his words, a rare insight into the brilliant mind of one of the greatest literary genii of the 20th Century. The parallels drawn from 16th Century Salem to Cold War McCarthyism and modern day conflict now leap from the pages of history, so glaringly obvious I wonder how I did not see it before. While names, dates and places have changed, the nature of conflict and the responses of those who encounter it is a constant throughout human history. I now understood, conflict will always be present and it is the way in which we respond to it that defines us. Composing my thoughts, I take a sip of tea, shuffle my notes, and continue the interview with this magnificent man