In the 1950s, Americans witnessed their own version of a ‘witch hunt’. During this time, fears of communism were at an all time high due to the ending of World War II. In turn this caused Joseph McCarthy to falsely accuse people of being a communist. The play, The Crucible written by Arthur Miller, correlates to the McCarthyism Red Scare of the 1950s. In the play, Abigail Williams used people’s fear to her advantage and began to falsely accuse townspeople of using witchcraft. Therefore, The Crucible and McCarthyism are related due to the false accusations and the Hollywood Ten, those falsely accused.
The Crucible, published in 1953 by Arthur Miller is a very popular book written about the 1692 Salem Witch Trials. While most people use the book to study the Witch Trials, with closer examination it is easy to conclude that it is a direct allegory to the Red Scare and the McCarthy era of 1950s America. An allegory is an extended metaphor in which the characters or objects in the story represent an outside meaning. The Crucible is an allegory to the Red Scare and the McCarthy era drastically by its plot, characters, and the flow and outcome of the court trials.
Fear, it causes people to be blinded by the truth. People can’t tell right from wrong. Arthur Miller wrote The Crucible to show how no one could see what was right. During the 1950’s communism was spreading throughout Europe like a wildfire, then it slowly made its way over to the U.S. This was known as The Red Scare. People were terrified of communism spreading to the United States, so when accusations started floating around everyone would believe them. McCarthy accused people of communist behavior, although many were falsely accused, no one knew better than to think they were guilty because of how scared they were of communism spreading. This resembles how certain characters were accused of witchcraft in The Crucible. The Red Scare caused nationwide hysteria just how the Salem Witch Trials caused hysteria to the people of Salem.
The Crucible is Inspired by the McCarthy time the 1950’s, Arthur Miller’s play, mainly focused the Salem witch trials, carelessness that can result from desires, and pleasure for others. Arthur Miller bases the play on historical things of the Salem witch trials. He starts of the play with Revered Samuel Parris’ daughter, his niece Abigail, the slave Tituba, and some village girls dancing in the woods. Rather than suffer punishment for their actions, the girls accused other women and men of witchcraft. The girls say that they saw the other people practicing witchcraft. The girls avoided their punishments by accusing others of the things they were guilty of. This childish finger-pointing resulted in the town becoming paranoid and they feared
“The Crucible” by Arthur Miller and The Red Scare share many characteristics. “The Crucible” describes the Salem Witch Trials. These trials were during a period of time where men and women were very rancorous so others feared to speak up because they would be accused of witchcraft and killed. Similar to Arthur Miller’s book, the Red Scare was a period of time in the late 40’s and 50’s in which United States citizens were intensely paranoid of an opposing threat of communism in Eastern Europe and Asia and ultimately communists infiltrating the United States. What the Red Scare and “The Crucible” have in common is that accusations of witchcraft or communism were false, people were blind to the truth, and the accusers weren’t very tactful and
In an interview on Faith and Religion with Bill Moyers from PBS, Margaret Atwood once said, “Under stress, society will always scapegoat a person or a group of people.” This belief is shown in the texts The Crucible by Arthur Miller, the cartoon “It’s okay -- We’re hunting Communist” by Herb Block, and her own poem “Half Hanged Mary”. In The Crucible Salem, Massachusetts suddenly has a problem with witchcraft. Most of the townspeople and farmers accuse one another of witchcraft either for land or revenge. In “It’s okay -- We’re hunting Communists” the government is chasing after Communist but hurting people in the meantime. In “Half Hanged Mary” the town hangs a woman called by Mary Webster for witchcraft. “Under stress, a society will always scapegoat a person or a group of people” in hopes to get rid of a huge issue at stake, not thinking of the damages of the people not associated with the problem.
Arthur Miller constructs his play upon the famous Salem witch trails. Miller's Crucible was written in the early 1950s. Miller wrote his drama during the brief reign of the American senator Joseph McCarthy whose bitter criticized anti- communism sparkled the need for the United States to be a dramatic anti- communist society during the early tense years of the cold war. By orders from McCarthy himself, committees of the Congress commenced highly controversial investigations against communists in the U.S similar to the alleged Salem witches situation. Convict communists were ordered to confess their crime and name others to avoid the retribution. The new decision led to a cyclone of accusations because people realized the possibility of their condemnation regardless they were guilty or innocent. Many helped that system by untrue confessions to save their lives. Miller, among others, refused to surrender to questioning. People who were revealed communists suffered greatly (Bly 2-5).
McCarthy then addressed the Senate and began to make a list of those who were suspicious of Communists. There was around 81 people in just one day, though he skipped some things and would have the tendency to repeat. A full investigation was held by the Senate, even when nothing was proven. He would accuse people, trying to stay in the headlines and the spotlight. He went as far to accuse those who were loyal to the government.
What comes to mind when you think of the red scare? The ussr? Communism? The threat of invasion by communist russia? The crucible might be one of them. the crucible by Arthur miller is an allegory for the red scare in the McCarthy Era because of the trials, false accusation and the lack of evidence
McCarthyism is also “the practice of making unfair allegations or using unfair investigative techniques, especially in order to restrict dissent or political criticism”. The actions of McCarthy combined with communist expansion and the Korean War promoted public fear and led to a second Red Scare. The McCarthyism held a series of trials. The hearings were held for the purpose of investigating conflicting accusations between the United States Army and Senator Joseph McCarthy. “The entire era of McCarthyism was ever proven to be part of any sort of conspiracy against the United States “. The whole think was a lack of evidence. This posed a domestic threat because people thought some communist were
In The Crucible Arthur Miller compares Salem witch trials to the McCarthy period by showing the unfairness of the McCarthy trials, by showing McCarthy’s accusation was equivalent to the guilt of the accused, and by showing how arbitrary an political it was when people were labelled witches or Communists.
The Salem witch trials proved to be one of the most cruel and fear driven events to ever occur in history. Many innocent people were accused of witchcraft, and while some got out of the situation alive not everyone was as lucky. Arthur Miller the author of The Crucible conveys this horrific event in his book and demonstrates what fear can lead people to do. But the reason as to why Arthur Miller felt the need to write The Crucible in the first place was because the unfortunate reality that history seemed to have repeated itself again. In the article “Are You Now or Were You Ever”, Arthur Miller claims that the McCarthy era and the Salem witch trials were similar and he does this through his choice of diction, figurative language, and rhetorical questions.
Salem, Massachusetts declared itself as a religious community in while which evil was going on. Salem's people considered the forest the center of the Devil. Salem was surrounded by forest. The Crucible tells the story of three girls that danced in the center of the devil which in the long run causes a number of unfortunate events. Joseph McCarthy, U.S. Senator, made false accusations that more than 200 card carrying members of the Communist party had went against The United States Government. He had no proof to back up what he was saying delusional girls make unsubstantiated claims about the existence of witches in Salem, and they are doing things to them. They have no proof. The witch trials and McCarthyism had a huge effect on the public
Throughout the course of American history there has been many two persecutions that have been very similar to one other, but they were separated by almost 3 centuries. One of these events was the “witch hunts”, Salem Witch Trials, and the other was McCarthyism. Because of these controversial topics, Arthur Miller wrote his play called The Crucible, in which he uses the Salem Witch Trials of 1692 to exhibit the dangerous McCarthyism, the bystander effect, and mass hysteria. Another intention of writing was the hope that society would learn and grow from the past, instead of ignoring and repeating it again.