The Crucible by Arthur Miller is a historic play but more importantly is a social and psychological drama that takes place in a small puritan town in Salem Massachusetts. Many different themes find their way through this play but the most important theme is the danger of Hysteria, reputation, and Intolerance can destroy a town no matter the strength of the people in the town. As this play was written during the red scare during the cold war this play shows many aspects as McCarthyism which had similar event that the Salem witch trials had but with the red scare.
“The Crucible” was written by Arthur Miller in the 1950’s to show McCarthyism with the use of the Salem Witch Trials as an allegory. Miller used an allegory of the Witch Trials to show another meaning to McCarthyism’s impact. McCarthyism was during the 1950’s that started with Joseph McCarthy that spreads the ideas of mass hysteria and fear of communism. Cite: McCarthyism, witch trials, communism and Joseph McCarthy)
Hysteria, paranoia, and delusion was what drove the Salem Witch trials in 1692. Many people were executed by decision of the court because it believed in absurd false allegations. Justice in the court was perverted by fear and delusion (Johnson 9). In the 1940s and 1950s, many people in the United States were living in fear of communism; similar to those who feared “witches” in Salem. In the 1953, Arthur Miller came out with a play: The Crucible based on the Salem Witch Trials tackling McCarthyism; accusing others of being communists trying to overthrow democracy in the United States (9-10). Arthur Miller was a playwright and a political activist speaking up addressing societal issues. One of his most well-known works being The Crucible, addressed McCarthyism and its absurd purpose. Miller, creator of The Crucible was blacklisted, and accused of being a communist along with many other entertainers (“Arthur Miller”). Through all this ignorance and delusional fear, Arthur Miller was inspired to explore the similarities and parallels of the Salem Witch Trials and McCarthyism.
The Crucible by Arthur Miller is based on the true events of the Salem witch trials. Set in the 17th century The Crucible told the story of a town that ensued a hunt for witches, caused by the accusations of Salem 's young girls and their ring leader Abigail Williams. Arthur Miller wrote this play to symbolize 1950’s McCarthyism. Most readers are unfamiliar with McCarthyism. So for a brief explanation, McCarthyism was carried out under senator Joseph McCarthy during 1950-1954 against alleged communist in the US government and in other institutions. The Salem witch trials and McCarthyism have an uncanny relation to one another. In Salem people were afraid of not appearing christian enough, meanwhile during the 50’s Americans feared of being accused of communism. Also during the McCarthyism era and the witch trials innocent lives were ruined when people were forced to accuse others or be accused themselves.
Arthur Miller is a commonly-known playwright, most famous for his 1953 play, The Crucible. The basis for The Crucible came from the witch trials which occurred in Salem, Massachusetts during the puritan era. Miller even uses some of the same characters in his dramatized play that were a part of the original witch trials in Salem. However, Miller made a few alterations to the historical members of the Salem society in order to suit his dramatic purpose in The Crucible, particularly Abigail Williams, John Proctor, and Reverend Samuel Parris.
The Crucible by Arthur Miller is about the corruption, lying, strict actions of the Salem witchcraft trials in Salem, Massachusetts. Miller was inspired to write this play to relate to the era of McCarthyism during the 1950’s that he and American citizens were experiencing. In the 1950’s Joseph McCarthy starting accusing public figures of being guilty of treason by supporting the communist party (of Russia). But McCarthy had no physical proof or evidence that suggested his wild accusations. The accusations caused havoc in America, hundreds imprisoned, and thousands to lose their job. The Crucible is focused on the wrongful and unjust accusations on townspeople guilty of “witchcraft” by a young teenager Abigail. If guilty, the town holds a trial, which if the accused confesses to witchcraft the accused would live; if the accused will be hanged. The accusations and trials led to twenty deaths of innocent people. These deaths are the fault of court official Danforth, integrity of John Proctor, and the lies told by Abigail are the reason these people were hanged.
When people are placed under an intense feeling of fear, they begin to commit actions they never thought they were capable over. In The Crucible by Arthur Miller, a young group of girls commit witchcraft which eventually leads to the arrest of over 100 women. This is similar to a time in the 1950s when Joseph McCarthy accuses government officials of communism and that ultimately leads to hundreds of citizens losing their jobs. The Crucible reveals the similarities between The Salem Witch Trials of the 1690s and McCarthyism of the 1950s because it demonstrates how a society can be tremendously impacted by the feeling the fear.
Arthur Miller wrote The Crucible in 1953. Arthur Miller wrote the play because he was inspired by McCarthyism. McCarthyism was the hunt for communists that was taken too far. In The Crucible he presented a universal message. He was comparing how communists did exist and witches did not, but yet they were both taken as serious. He was explaining how if anyone stood up to the witch trials in Salem, 1600s they would face immediate arrest, the hardest interrogation and possibly even the rope. People who were even thought to be communists would be trialed with un-American activities. Miller wouldn’t have written The Crucible if he wasn’t trialed on un-American activities. Witchcraft is the beliefs and practicing of magic spells to create unnatural happenings. A crucible is a metal container that is used to melt metals and separate valuable metals from the less valuable ones, it can also be a severe test of life. The title of Arthur Miller's play The Crucible is symbolic to both these terms. In act one of The Crucible, Abigail Williams was the most responsible person for the hysterical witchcraft in Salem.
The Salem Witch Trials and McCarthyism are very similar even though they took place such a long time from each other. If someone was accused of witchcraft in 1692 they had to confess and lose all social standing or be executed, in the 1950’s if a person was accused of being a communist they would be fired and put on trial, if they would not confess they were blacklisted until they admitted to their “crime”. Arthur Miller used the Salem Witch trials to protest McCarthyism in a somewhat discreet way that proved to be a timeless comfort to the citizens experiencing oppression from their government (“Why I Wrote The Crucible”, 911).
In 1692, a fear of witchcraft led to the accusation of over 200 townspeople. Of those 200, 20 hanged. Throughout the Crucible, it explains the ridiculous trials the people went through to try to prove their innocence. This is parallel to the Red Scare because people went to great lengths to prove their innocence of McCarthyism. In the Crucible, there is multiple occasions where the events that happen are parallel to McCarthyism because the Crucible is an allegory to McCarthyism.
People will do anything to stay alive. The things people will do to survive exist at their clearest during the 1950s with McCarthyism on the rise. McCarthyism, otherwise known as the Red Scare, began when senator Joseph McCarthy accused anyone who was a left-wing “loyalist” risk of being a communist. The threat of losing everything in life; if the case escalated that included taking a llast breath. Arthur Miller sums this up beautifully in a quote describing his experience during McCarthyism,
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.
The Crucible is a story by Arthur Miller this story was released during the Mccarthyism era and is written to relate what is going on during Mccarthyism time and compared to what had happened during the time of the Salem witch trials. The setting or the crucible will impact the characters, the plot and the tone of the story.
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).
Rod Serling, by creating the episode “The Monsters are Due on Maple Street”, Serling is trying to show an aspect of history like McCarthyism. During the episode, a lot is going on and it causes the residents to lose their sanity. The problem starts off small, and soon the whole situation is flipped from being about a power outage to blaming each other about who caused it. Lastly, the end of the show is total chaos. Much like McCarthyism which is making accusations to transform the established social order and treason without regards to evidence, the show represents that in a way that’s subtle.