The emotions a person feels can cause people to do unimaginable things to themselves and other people. Throughout the book, people's emotions bring out the worst of the people of Salem. The people of Salem begin accusing people of witchcraft for their own personal vendettas and gain. In the book “ The Crucible” by Arthur Miller the people demonstrate, When reason fails, emotions control and results in the destruction of what is morally right or good. Before the book begins, Abigail Williams was fired by the Proctors because of her affair with John Proctor, the husband of the Elizabeth Proctor.
In The Crucible, by Arthur Miller, Miller uses one of his main characters, Abigail, to cause fear among the townspeople due to witchcraft. Abigail takes advantage of everyone's fear, and gets the townspeople to turn against each other or to take her side, however in the end the results are disastrous as 19 people are left dead and many remain in prison due to the accusations. Arthur Miller does this to demonstrate to his audience the dangers of using fear to motivate an audience to confront a threat. On the other hand, Franklin D. Roosevelt uses the Pearl Harbor incident to cause fear among his audience. Roosevelt uses his audience's fear of being attacked unexpectedly, like the Pearl Harbor incident, in hope to persuade them to support the war and volunteer to go to war, and the result left over 100,000 military personnel dead at the end of the war.
Can the fear of people control the way certain things and events are looked at? In 1950 a nationwide historical campaign called McCarthyism took place. The campaign was against alleged communist in the U.S government and other institutions and accusations of subversion or treason without proper regard for evidence which was carried out by Joseph McCarthy. The primary targets were usually union activist, government employees, educators, and entertainment industry. Many people people lost their trust in others, causing a new outlook on life while relationships were destroyed.
The crucible is defined as a severe trial of test, which not only happened in Arthur Miller's play, The Crucible, but also in Miller's life. Arthur Miller wanted The Crucible to symbolize McCarthyism. Throughout the 1940s and 1950s McCarthyism was prominent in America and is known as the paranoid hunt for infiltrators who were communist sympathizers. Writers and entertainers were mainly targeted because they have a lot of influence in society and were used an example. Targeting writers and entertainers showed the people that the government wouldn't sympathize with anyone who supported communism and shook fear into the town.
Instead of interrogating Abigail, he is silenced by her which most likely shows that he has accepted her demand of not being judged. At this point, there is a flip in power dynamics at the witchcraft trials, Abigail has overpowered Danforth in courtroom. Judge Danforth an honorable Judge of the supreme court has easily been dominated by a seventeen-year-old Abigail, proving that he is gullible to her lies. Lastly, right after the Andover witchcraft trial revolt, Abigail runs away and also steals Reverend Parris’s money (The crucible). The sheer act of fleeing away shows a sign of guilt and fear of punishment along with her act of stealing Reverend Parris’s money clearly speaks a lot about the criminal character of Abigail Williams.
Therefore, people should not have to prove their innocence. In the play there have been many situation that concluded with no solutions that lead the character to betray their own belief. For example, in act one Tituba confessed to working with the devil to prove that she didn’t want to be a witch anymore. But in reality she knew that she did not have an option because issue was blame on her just for being the slave. Sarah Good became another victim in court that risk their good name to save their own life.
He threatened excommunication and hell fire in my last moments if I continued obdurate.” (Shelley 94) The Crucible featured a trial in the third act where several characters accuse Abigail Williams, the main antagonist, of deceiving the court by falsely accusing people of witchcraft. As their evidence they present a follower to one of the girls, Mary Warren, to provide witness testimony to this. Abigail interferes by accusing her of witchcraft. As the trial goes on Mary Warren collapses under pressure and continues to go along with the game since she feared death. (Miller, Act 3) Both of the locations of the trials mattered to the outcome of the verdicts.
The Crucible acts as an Allegorical tale of the events that occurred in America during the 1950s. Reverend Paris, the acting government in Salem, threatens Tituba, a slave from Barbados to “ confess” to witchcraft “or he will take her out and whip her to her death” (Miller 44). In the 1950s the House Committee on Un-American Activities blacklisted and threatened those accused of Communism to confess in the same way that the government of Salem threatened those accused of witchcraft. During both the 1692 Witch Trials and the 1950 McCarthy Trials the Government not only forced a confession, but imprisoned or killed those who refused to speak.
The Red Scare during the mid-twentieth century, sparked by Joseph McCarthy’s accusations, is an event in which mass fear and paranoia of communism hypnotized Americans. Convictions made by McCarthy often placed people on a blacklist, destroying their careers. Because of these certain events, it influences playwright Arthur Miller to write The Crucible. The play demonstrates this hysteria through the Salem witch trials. People who were thought to be a witch have a choice of blackening their reputation by confessing, or hanging under the false evidence of witchcraft.
Lying only leads to the truth being told and having worse consequences for the people committing the lies. The Crucible has innocent people that were being accused of witchery. John Proctor was trying to get Mary to confess on her wrong doing and turn away from the girls. Proctor claims that Mary “never saw no spirits”. (Miller 183).
The McCarthy hearings and the Salem witch trials accurately represent the saying, "Desperate times call for desperate measures." In the 1950s, the McCarthy hearings tainted lives by falsely accusing those in the film industry of being associated with Communism. In the 17th century, the Salem witch trials charged innocent villagers of practicing witchcraft. Victims from the McCarthy hearings were isolated and ruined, while victims from the Salem trials were hanged and shunned. People were so full of fear that they would do anything to eliminate their anxiety.
During McCarthyism there was a committee called (HUAC) House Un-American Activities Committee that was hunting for “infiltrators” card-carrying communist . They decided that if you were suggested of being a communist you would have to face trial. This committee had the power to blacklist you and destroy your career. “...three hundred and twenty artists were blacklisted, and for many of them this meant the end of exceptional and promising careers.”(McCarthyism 217) The court in the Crucible also had tremendous power, their power was life or death. If you were accused and found to be a witch according to the court you were hang.
Both situations spiraled out of control because of ignorance and the use mob mentality. A person who sympathized with Communists was persecuted, just as if someone tried to defend the accused witches of Salem. Parallel to the Salem Witch Trials, the McCarthy Trials accused hundreds of innocent people of being Communists without any proof. Like Salem, if the accused confessed to communism, they would be blacklisted from their community, but not jailed. Sir William Phips was the Governor of Massachusetts at the time of the salem Witch Trials, and he refused to stop the trials until one of the accusers targeted his wife.
If you are being threatened of life or death with false statements would you take the blame or would you blame others? The crucible is an allegory because they believe that people are symbolic for the devil and witch craft. However the crucible also relates to the red scarce because people are being accused and it just leads to people being afraid and deaths. The crucible connects to real life by persecuting a lot of innocent people just like the red scarce. The red scarce is a witch hunt with suspected communist supporters.
In the Crucible, there is multiple occasions where the events that happen are parallel to McCarthyism because the Crucible is an allegory to McCarthyism. The Crucible mirrors McCarthyism because even though “tis hard to prove” (Miller, 75) the court believed unsustainable girls and believed they saw the Devil in people. They accepted that “the Devil may be among them” (Miller, 27) and would do anything to clean the town of such sins. During the 1950’s, non evidential claims would be taken seriously. McCarthy was a Senator who made a list of people he claimed to be known communists working for the State Department.